Back into CPD23 this week with Thing 4: Current awareness. This has participants looking at social tools that can assist keeping up with the happenings of the library and information science world. It is three tools actually: Twitter, RSS feeds and Pushnote. There is enough to talk about (at least for the first two) that I am going to break this up into multiple posts.
If you haven't figured out by now, I am on Twitter! You can find me at @booksNyarn. I would consider this account to be "profersonal". I originally created it over two years ago (on May 15, 2009 in fact) just for personal reasons and fun, but of course fell immediately in with a crowd of librarians who I count as my closest friends. I was also following knitters, librarians, gardeners, green activists. I rarely talked about work, I used a few different comic avatars, and used only my handle up until a little over a year ago.
This year has brought a lot more discussion: with librarians, with Library Journal, with upheavals in the digital world with ebooks. I have become more vocal for and about my profession and now put my face and my name on my account. As I began book reviewing at my other blog, I grew to know more book bloggers, reviewers and publishers too.
Over the last year I have begun to also tweet from various conferences and seminars that I have attended. Try to find out if the program you are attending has a hashtag! If not, create one. I have almost always found at least one other person tweeting at the program, which gives additional notes and perspectives, and I usually end up with comments, questions and other librarians to follow. You can also archive tweets with a particular hashtag over at TwapperKeeper.
Managing it has gotten to be a bit more unwieldy. I know I do not keep track of my timeline the way that I used to a couple of years ago. However, following over 900 people and organizations and having over 700 followers, I am not going to be able to keep up with it as much as I would like. This is why I started using Tweetdeck.
Tweetdeck is a third party Twitter application that allows the user to have multiple Twitter columns on their computer screen at the same time. You can also have multiple Twitter accounts, along with Facebook, Buzz, MySpace, etc. Being able to run multiple columns is a boon, especially since they can be created on lists or on search terms. Above I have my general timeline, then my Librarians list, plus the hashtag for #cpd23. I have a few other columns to help track mentions of me and direct messages. I used to run the desktop application, but with Chrome having an in-browser app, I have moved it there and just run it in a tab along with the other dozen I have open at an given time. Tweetdeck was bought by Twitter in May 2011. So far we haven't seen any real changes, and I am holding out hope that it will stay active and supported.
Twitter is a social tool I use every day, both professionally and personally. I interact with many more librarians and other people from across the US and the world than I ever would have in my own little corner of Massachusetts. It has broadened my network and become the place where I can get the news faster than the television or radio. I really cannot picture my online experience now without it.