Although a common belief is that Twitter is filled with celebrities tweeting about what they had for lunch, in reality few users actually use the service to send updates about the minutiae of their everyday activities, instead preferring to use it to network and share ideas or interesting things they have seen around the web. This is what makes Twitter such a valuable tool for those of us wanting to improve our current awareness.
If you already have an account, skip this paragraph! If you don't already use Twitter, follow the easy steps below to create your account and begin tweeting:
- Go to www.twitter.com and click the yellow "sign up" button and follow the steps to create an account.
- Once you have created your account you will be taken to your Twitter homepage where you can update your profile to include a short biography, a link to your blog and a profile picture. We recommend that you leave the Twitter Privacy box unchecked because this means other CPD23 participants can read your tweets. You can always change this at any time.
- Now post your first update. Click in the status box at the top of the screen where you see the question "What's happening?" Write a comment, maybe something about your participation in the 23 Things programme. You are restricted to 140 characters, and as you type you will see the number at the top right of the box decrease. Leave enough characters to add #cpd23 at the end. This is known as a hashtag and allows Twitter users to group tweets by subject. By adding #cpd23 to your tweet your comment will be picked up by other participants. Once you click "Update", this tweet will be added to your timeline, and anyone who follows you will be able to see your tweet.
- Search for @CPD23 (or click here) and click "follow". Now our tweets will appear in your timeline!
Once you have been tweeting for a while and have built up a few followers, Twitter can be really handy for asking questions. To help me with this blog post I asked my followers who their top 3 Twitter accounts were for LIS news and information. (I also asked them to "retweet" this message - commonly abbreviated as "RT" - so that it reached more people.) Based on the results of this, here are a few lists of people you might like to follow for starters, then why not try finding a few yourself! If you find someone interesting, take a look at who they follow and go from there. But follow as many or as few people as you personally can manage - current awareness is good but information overload is bad!
- The whole crowdsourced Twitter list
- LIS organisations
- Public libraries
- Academic libraries
- Special libraries
RSS (commonly known as Really Simple Syndication) allows you to view new content from web sites, blog entries, etc in one place, without having to visit the individual sites. This obviously makes following library news and developments a lot easier, as all the news comes to you!
Here is a handy bundle of all the CPD23 blogs:
RSS feed of all CPD23 participants (this version, courtesy of Shannon Robalino, is one single feed will all the participants' posts in it)
RSS bundle of CPD23 participants (this version will load the 600+ blogs separately into your reader)
And here are a few of my favourite blogs for keeping abreast of library news and trends (again, explore for yourself, follow your interests etc!) -
- Librarian by Day - transliteracy, digital library services
- Phil Bradley's weblog - "where librarians and the internet meet" - search engines, web 2.0 technologies
- The Wikiman - library advocacy, marketing, social media
- Thoughts of a [wannabe] librarian - IT in libraries, digital divide, library news and advocacy
- Agnostic Maybe - ebooks, library news. Hosts an "open-thread Thursday" discussion each week
- Hack Library School - a must for LIS students, "hack" your library school experience using the web as a collaborative space
- Rarely Sited - special collections and outreach
- Mashable - social media and technology news
Pushnote is a tool that allows you to rate and comment on any website. If any of your Twitter or Facebook friends use Pushnote as well, you can add them as a friend, and then share pages with them. You can also choose to automatically post your comments to Twitter and/or Facebook if you want to share them with a wider audience. They have a handy set of FAQs on their website here: http://pushnote.com/faq
Unfortunately, at the time of writing, Pushnote is only available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers.
What to do now!
To complete this Thing, blog about your experiences with these tools. Which did you find most useful and why? Have you come across any blogs or twitter accounts that you've found particularly useful for current awareness? Have other CPD23 particpants been sharing helpful pages via Pushnote?
Images in this post by IconTexto on IconFinder.com