Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Potluck #56: To Tweet or Not To Tweet...Twitter

This is the second of three individual potluck posts this month. You can do any or all of the posts to get individual credit. This post is avaialble for training credit through April 30 and is worth 1 training hour.

(c) Bill Barnes & Gene Ambaum Unshelved.com. Used with permission.

If you have yet to hear about Twitter, you are not keeping up with Web 2.0.

The "micro-blogging" sensation is at the top with popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Myspace. According to Compete.com, Twitter is the 3rd largest social networking site (and rising).

What, you might ask, is micro-blogging? According to Wikipedia, it is "is a form of blogging that allows users to send brief text updates (usually 140 characters or fewer) or [items] such as photos or audio clips and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user."

Twitter is used in various ways. Many use it for personal accounts, promotional purposes, or sharing information about special interests. Popular twitter profiles include profiles that follow celebrities, give news and weather updates, and even give information about freebies. Celebrity twitterers are also a prominent voice in the Twitter community. Celebrity Tweet keeps tabs on celebrities.

You may not have visited the Twitter site; however, Twitter is becoming the talk of town. Some people wonder if Twitter has a shot at being a long term network. Several sources voice their opinion about Twitter's shelf life and the general consensus is that Twitter is here to stay. For information on Twitter's longevity and popularity, see Entertainment Weekly's The Truth about Twitter, Forbes' Yes, CEOs Should Facebook and Twitter, and Unshelved's Twitter Love.

Twitter is not for everyone. To employ Twitter to its fullest potential, a user should tweet at regularly but not overdo it. For other tips on being an effective user, see 10 Traits of Highly Effective Twitter Users.

Twitter Features, Apps, and Tools
Similar to the features of other social networks, Twitter allows users to:
  • Custom design backgrounds with Twitter templates, non-Twitter sources (such as Twitterbacks), or personal uploaded images.

  • Mark favorite tweets for easy access and view other users' favorite tweets.

  • Make your profile private so that only friends can see your information.

  • Share pics via Twitpic.

  • Users can perform a keyword search that will search everyone's tweets (EVERYONE!).

  • Find people by username or personal name or Twitter will give you suggested twitterers.
Also, users can link other sites to their Twitter account by adding a widget or gadget and can share music, pictures, videos, etc. that they like. Applications on sites such as Facebook will allow status updates from their site to be updated on Twitter. There are cell phone applications such as Twitterberry so you can tweet on the go. There are also a number of applications users can download to their desktops to optimize Twitter such as Twhirl and Tweetdeck.

Twitter Related Sites

Twitter Glossary - With the Twitter explosion, new Twitter-specific terms are used. Some examples:
Hash Tag (#): the "#" sign allows Twitters to tag their conversations to make it easier to find. (e.g. #hcpl)
Twaiting: twittering while waiting
Tweeple: Twitter users
Twitterati: Glamorous A-List twitterers everyone wants to follow.

Twellow- An online directory that allows social network users to list themselves and their profile information for sites including del.icio.us, Flickr, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Twitter Elite- Similar to a directory, you can view Twitterati profiles by location that also include their grade or see top cities that have the most users. These ratings provide a small bio as well as a link to follow them.

Twitip- This is kind of like a blog that posts news and information relevant to the Twitter community. This site posts tips on how to be a good twitterer, how to make friends and other guidelines that are useful for Twitter.

1) Browse a couple of different Twitter profiles (news, fashion, celebrities) and read through a few updates. Do you think this is something you would adopt for personal use? Is there a particular topic you'd like to tweet about?

2) Use the search feature to find tweets about a topic that interests you. What were the results?

3) Post your thoughts about Twitter to your blog. For help navigating through Twitter, see their support page.

Optional: Create a Twitter account or subscribe to a feed. For help on subscribing to a feed, visit here.

This post brought to you by Veronica Garza (ADM).

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