Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Twittering and Yammering Through the Holidays

So, Twitter and Yammer - new words to some of you - but fun tools for others. Twitter is an online communication tool that seems to growing in popularity exponentially. Michael Stephens mentioned it in his presentation here in Pittsburgh 2 weeks ago and I've noticed a few libraries from our area getting in on the act: ACLA, Sewickley Teens and Sewickley Adults, Suzi Wackerbarth from Northland, Brad Fish from Scholastic (and the ACLA board) and Leigh Anne Vrabel at CLP.

Twitter is what they call 'micro-blogging.' So, telling the world (or just your friends/coworkers) what you're up to, thinking about, dreaming about, eating, reading, listening to, etc. It might seem a bit stalker-ish to some of you, but frankly, it's a pretty neat and tidy way to keep in touch with what others are up to. You can even share links to sites or blog posts!

For personal use, Twitter's pretty fun for reading about friends' daily activities - perfect for the kinds of thoughts that are momentary but brilliant or funny and noteworthy.

For professional use, for us librarians, a great way to let patrons or (as I'm now committed to called them) members of your library know what's happening in the library. From a program coming up at lunchtime, to a group of tasty new books that just arrived and are available for check out. David Lee King has a great post on his blog about how to use Twitter and why everyone's all atwitter about it!

Now Yammer is a little different - same concept, but a closed-circuit. Meaning, Twitter is public and unless you lock your tweets (posts) everyone can see them and subscribe to them. With Yammer, ACLA has a network where only or IP addresses can participate in the conversation. You've no idea how many librarians and staff in the county are on this thing. It's pretty fun. To join the conversation, go to Yammer and put in your email address. Easy as that. To make it even easier, download the desktop application and you can have it running all day and see what people are talking about. Some of the post topics just today were:
  • a storytime on dirt
  • PR about
  • complaints about reports
  • a burgeoning non-fiction book club
  • a Seattle Post article on how the web is good for the brain
So, come on, join the conversation!