June 30, 2009

A Twitter Tizzy!

After tweeting privately for over 18 months, I have recently created two public Twitter accounts. One is for folks at my new position as director of the Park Library at UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JoMC), where I am @JoMCParkLib and the other is ... finally! ... as @CogSciLibrarian.

All this Twitter activity has gotten me thinking about how I use Twitter and why I feel the need for three separate accounts. I've also been thinking about it because of an upcoming study at UNC by Fred Stutzman and Woody Hartzog on privacy behaviors in online social networks. They are looking for people who "have started using social networking sites within the last two years, and maintain multiple profiles (e.g. a 'work profile' and a 'personal profile')." I'll use my blog for personal reflection and share my thoughts, in partial answer to "omg! three Twitter accounts" reaction and also in response to Stutzman and Hartzog's interesting call for participants.

My personal Twitter account is for me to stay in touch with my friends. I "know" most of the people I tweet with privately, either in the Real World or from connections made online. I talk about what I'm cooking for dinner, what license plate I'm going to get (NC State Parks), and other miscellaneous chatter that is reserved for friends.

My work Twitter account, @JoMCParkLib, is where I post library items of interest to students, faculty, alumni, and staff who use or might use the Park Library. I want to promote the exciting resources that the library makes available to members of the JoMC and UNC communities. Journalists and other mass communicators such as advertisers and marketers are making good use of Twitter, so I am consciously trying to communicate in a medium that is familiar to my library's audience. If Twitter isn't familiar to folks at JoMC, maybe my Twitter account will encourage them to learn more about it. The tweets are going directly to those who follow me on @JoMCParkLib, but I also have them feed into the library's home page, and I send out a weekly email to faculty & staff highlighting the week's top tweets.

The work Twitter account is also where I'll write the majority of my professional library science tweets; I did some live-tweeting from the recent Special Libraries Association (SLA) conference and will probably do the same for the upcoming Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference. At SLA, I was eager to show my followers how libraries are useful to journalists (there were great shout-outs to librarians by Colin Powell, Judy Woodruff, and Robyn Meredith). At AEJMC, I will also be happy to promote the role of the librarian in educating journalists & mass communicators.

I use Tweetie on my Mac to manage the two Twitter accounts, and that is going so well that I created a third Twitter account for @CogSciLibrarian.

I haven't been blogging much, in part because I was teaching and working full-time last semester, and then moved over 700 miles ... but I was still thinking about all things CogSci. There's been some talk that Twitter is supplanting blogging (it is called microblogging, after all), where shared items (or ReTweets, as they are called; RT for short) on a topic are tweeted instead of written about on a blog. Longer, more thoughtful items are written as blog posts. My new idea is to embed my @CogSciLibrarian Twitter feed into this blog and continue blogging longer items of cognitive science interest. I don't expect to post to @CogSciLibrarian as much as I do to my other two feeds, and I will not post personal material to that feed at all.

While I am dividing my Twitter accounts, I will most likely keep one blog, under the CogSciLibrarian name. I will continue to post about cognitive science and library science, with a splash of music; and I will integrate some journalism / mass communication into the mix.

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