There’s been an ongoing conversation about Twitter at MPOW. A number of us have been using it fairly steadily as a sort of ad hoc internal communication protocol. By my last count, we’ve got five people on staff (3 in Adult Services, and 2 in Youth) who maintain a profile, and most of us use a third-party app like TwitterFox to stay in the loop. Since all this stuff is public, we’re not necessarily tweeting about Top Secret Library Plans For World Domination, but it’s nice to be able pick a co-workers’ brain from a distance, and perhaps get some ancillary feedback from the great collective.
But I’ve been working on some other ways to make Twitter useful from an institutional standpoint. As I mentioned in the comments on that Tame the Web piece, I’ve set up a number of widgets to troll the outer rings of Twitterdom to see how my library fits into other people’s lives. Among these tools is Twitter Search.
I’ve got several feeds for my library’s location, as well as several other key sites in the area. This includes the names of several parks, schools, and local businesses. If it’s appropriate, I can respond with appropriate information. Here’s an example of a tweet that popped up on my radar:
Of course, I knew that the Skokie Swift train line restarted its weekend service this summer. Good little reference librarian that I am, I sent out the following response:
And I got this response in return:
Our reference stats go up, the CTA gets an extra customer, and I may have just converted a non-patron into a patron. The library is getting out there, and finding ways to help where they didn’t previously exist. And it’s all thanks to Twitter Search.