Sunday, 10 July 2011

Thing 4(a): Twitter sweet symphony

I appear to have got a bit carried away writing up this week’s task, so I’ve decided to do three separate posts, to break up the text a bit.

Thing 4 of cpd23 is about current awareness and suggests three tools to help today’s busy information professional keep on top of news and developments. Since at the moment my current awareness activities extend to randomly visiting bookmarked websites and failing to remove my copy of CILIP Update from its polythene wrapper every month, I figure I could do with some help in this area.

First up is:


Up until now I have been a Twitter abstainer on the twin assumptions that:

1. It’s full of people broadcasting banalities about their day-to-day business

2. I don’t particularly want to broadcast banalities about my own day-to-day business (and you can read below to find out how that’s working out for me).

However, the point of taking part in this course, and the point of professional development in general, is to discover new sources of information and ways of working, right? Also, the impression I’ve hitherto had of Twitter is that it is solely a means of spewing out your own thoughts; I had never even considered the possibility that it also functions as a sort of news feed, allowing you to receive other people’s opinions and news.

So now I have a Twitter account (@dianajwright). I wish I’d read thewikiman’s 3 essential things to do AS SOON AS you join Twitter before setting it up, since I had comprehensively failed to do any of them. This has since been rectified and I must say that I have really, unexpectedly, enjoyed my first week on Twitter.

I am following an assortment of real-life colleagues, cpd23 participants, other library and information professionals (principally those tweeting about open access and repository issues) and a few media types and famouses. From them I have picked up an astonishing amount of news, ideas and useful links, and I also feel much more engaged with my peers and my profession than before (for example, I don’t think I would have found out about the proposed North East cpd23 meet up, or at least not so quickly, if I wasn’t on Twitter). I am also following a few hashtags and saved searches: #cpd23 (natch), #uklibchat, #libday7 and #openaccess.

In spite of my hatred of the term “profersional” that’s approach I’m taking with regard to my own tweets, partly because a feed of nothing but library/work stuff could end up being a little one-sided and dry, but mainly because, with the zeal of a new convert, I’m finding it too damn hard not to broadcast my every random thought. (It took me just three days to begin tweeting about my lunch and, what’s more, I don’t even care.)

I do have a couple of caveats:

1. I’m still not au fait with all aspects of Twitter etiquette, such as having a direct conversation with another twitterer and properly crediting people via retweets, but I’m sure I’ll pick it up soon enough; and

2. I am a bit concerned about its potentially deleterious effects on my already-ravaged attention span.

Nevertheless, I have found Twitter about a million times more engaging and useful than I anticipated. I will definitely keep using this, at least for the duration of the cpd23 programme, by which time I will probably have a Twitter monkey the size of King Kong on my back.

I can quit anytime I want, right?! (Picture by carrotcreative)


  1. feeling similar to you about launching into Twitter, so good to know you've had more success, and made better use of the # than I have - will keep trying, thanks for sharing

  2. Hi Rachel, Twitter is like an entirely new world isn't it - I'm enjoying it, but it's also a bit head-spinning at times.

    I would definitely save a search for the #cpd hashtag and periodically check it if you can - it's a great way of keeping up with what lots of cpd people are tweeting without having to follow hundreds of people individually. Or @meimaimaggio has compiled a list of all participants which you can also follow: @meimaimaggio/cpd23