All a-Twitter? Possibly

This past week has been chock full of reference questions involving older print resources, with longer research/callback times than usual – that’s not a complaint!  The nice thing about 2.0 is that you really can tuck it into the back of your mind and let it simmer when the more traditional reference work is required.

That may possibly be the optimal approach; a recent New York Times article about late technology adopters indicates that for every wave of folks fannish on the shiny-new, there’s a similar flock of people content to wait and see.

So, over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about libraries and Twitter. There’s ample evidence that the microblogging service has proved useful for some libraries. And guides like this one make it easy for interested librarians to get their feet wet. But would it play in Pittsburgh?

Given that the Meebo project is just now headed to the steering committee for approval, it’s probably too early to push another innovation. However, I have to admit I’m intrigued. What could a Twitter feed do for CLP?  Some thoughts:

  • If you have it up and running at the refdesk, you can type in brief descriptions of what you’re doing, and display the feed on the webpage.  Obviously, you don’t want to compromise patron confidentiality.  However, short summaries of reference questions could be interesting to someone surfing our website.
  • Provided said info was in the public domain, you could post interesting trivial tidbits, or link to news articles.
  • Someday, far in the future, we could actually text patrons on their cell phones, pagers, and other mobile devices.

Can anybody think of anything else?  It’s exciting, uncharted territory.  But I’m a big fan of William Morris‘s axiom that things should be either useful or beautiful. Twitter’s cute, but I wouldn’t call it beautiful. And how useful would it be for CLP?


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