The Value of Twitter*


*or is that an oxymoron?

Brenda wrote recently on Twitter, an IM program that asks the question “What are you doing?” I love Twitter, but I follow a pretty select group of professional and personal contacts. Yes, it can be a huge time waster, but if you connect with the right people, it can also provide you with up-to-date information and make you the go-to person for your organization. I learned about the Google fiasco with United Airlines on Twitter. When I mentioned it to one of my lawyers, he didn’t know what I was talking about and it was his area of legal interest!

Another way it was professionally useful was when one of my “tweeps” recently moved and had to find a new job. She asked for interviewing help over Twitter. Someone else linked her to this article by Jennifer S. Murray, “The Zen of Law Librarian Job Interviews: How to Interview for a Job and How to Interview the Job” published in Law Library Journal. While focusing on law librarians, the information contained in it is totally relevant for any library job seeker.  Even though I’m not looking for a job, I printed it out and read it, because it was a very-well written article and I knew people I could forward it to.

So if you’re interested in joining the Twitter community, here are some tips on making it work for you instead of wasting your time:

  1. Choose who you follow and who you let follow you. My updates are protected, so I have to allow people to follow me. I get email notification, and then I check them out and decide whether or not I’m going to add them.
  2. Choose leading people in your field. Look at the people they’re following, and add them to your community.
  3. Choose leading people outside your field. While I have a number of library leaders that I follow, I also have a couple of marketing leaders, because, as I’m so fond of saying, 90% of what I do is actually marketing.
  4. Get family and friends to tweet. I also added some out-of-town family members. It’s a free way to easily keep in touch. I don’t post often, but it’s a great way to tell everyone about that great new purse you just bought! And who would waste a phone call on telling someone that?
  5. Have fun with it! Choose some people just because! I added John Cleese because I’m a huge Monty Python fan. He doesn’t update that often, but every so often I get a humourous post from him.  And if you can’t have fun with Twitter, well, what’s the point!

Feel free to follow me. I’m @karensawatzky. You’ll have to make a request to follow me, so make sure when I investigate your Twitter account, I can easily see a reason to accept you. And I’ll follow you back.

~ Karen


3 Responses to “The Value of Twitter*”

  1. 1 Brenda

    Yikes, wrong date on news story and that misinformation get circulated wider and wider causing chaos. I did not know this story either. My parallel example is giving clients current law. I always have title of act and currency date. A solid best practice.

  2. 2 Brenda

    Hey you scooped Wall Street Journal on Twitter.
    The old media is trying to get a handle of the new media.

  3. Thanks for the great tip of choosing leading people outside my field to follow on Twitter. I am a new tweeter and this is terrific advice.

    You may be happy to know that other library techs (like me) have learned about your blogging through a Slaw post at

    Congratulations on raising the profile of library techs in the wider community.

    Shaunna Mireau
    Grant MacEwan College Library and Information Management 1992

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