Twitter. What’s that all about then? or how I almost learned to love Twitter by Matt Holland

The @NWASLibrary Twitter account.  Joined 2010.  Tweets 380 +.  Followers 216.  Following 153.

Observing the stop – start, and sometimes just stop output from health care library Twitter accounts, I know colleagues have also asked the question. What can I use Twitter for?   You can see the waves of enthusiasm for Twitter wax and wane as the volume of Tweets speeds up, then slows, then … silence.

What’s it for has to be the wrong question of a multi-billion pound company.   Clearly it has to be for something!   It probably wouldn’t matter unless you have the ambitious objective to increase the frequency and value of the library Twitter account,  increase followers to 500, and raise Tweet rate to 500 per year.   It’s a safe assumption that most health care library managers have a Twitter related objective in their communication or marketing plan.  Hmmmm …

The light came on when I finally asked the right, and much more specific, question.  What is the Library Twitter account for?   There are some supplemental questions too, once you are in the groove.    With something as varied as Twitter there is no one answer.   The answer is  …  what you want it to be.   To nature’s Twitterers I admire you.   For the rest there are these questions.   So here is the plan to set the NWAS LKS Twitter account on fire, finally.

Go on then, what’s the NWAS LKS Twitter feed for?

@NWASLibrary is going to be part of the library current awareness offering.  Pushing out information that might go in the libraries edited current awareness services and much more that won’t.   Included as well are the usual news items about the library.   It’s also another channel for carrying the library branding to a new audience.  Not too exciting, but it feels more manageable for having boundaries.

Who is it aimed at?

They say that every radio presenter has a typical audience member in mind when talking to their unseen audience.   I can’t say @NWASLibrary analysis of its Twitter audience is that esoteric.  There are possibly three audiences: 1) Senior Managers, 2) Clinicians, and 3) the Learning and Development community. Having at least some idea of who your audience is helps in choosing and excluding material.

Why not have more than one account?

It’s a safe bet that you are going to have at least two accounts.   The work account you manage according to your trust social media policies and an account for your professional library persona that you might use to take part in Twitter chats, a shout out here for ukmedlibs,  and of course any number of other personal accounts.

@NWASLibrary uses the Twitter management tool TweetDeck to help manage the account.   You get all your Twitter accounts on one screen, plus you can create and monitor lists of feeds on the look out for more material. There are other goodies included.

The other answer to the multiple accounts question for the Twitter minded is that your single account can be themed using hashtags #.  Of course these are non-proprietary.   Luckily the combination of Trust initials, a subject and lks will in most cases generate something unique.  No doubt the National Weather Association is as confused about #nwas as I was when I first checked it out.

Final point here is just an observation based on experience. There are no economies of scale to be had by running multiple Twitter accounts. Two accounts are double the work of one.

Are you counting on success?

What is success depends on how you define it?   Running a regularly updated Twitter account that manages to pop its head over the horizon might be success.   If you need something more detailed then you can use Twitter Analytics which will generate industry standard measures of activity on your Twitter account.  It’s very similar to Google Analytics in concept and is primarily aimed at advertisers.   The problem with this kind of data is that without comparators within the sector, that is other health care libraries, it’s pretty meaningless.   @NWASLibrary might just stick to Tweets, Followers and Impressions and see which way the trend line is pointing!

What’s your motivation

Just reflecting on my own experience,   I have always thought of Twitter as additional say to the Library website, blog and any other social media enterprise.   When work pressures exerted themselves it was left behind.   In other words it wasn’t core business.    After five years Twitter is still here.   It’s no fad. The biggest selling point is individual library users are regular Twitter users and so are the corporate communications team of every health care organisation.    In other words,  it is core business now and you have to be on Twitter to be in the conversation.   That is all you need to know.

How many Tweets makes a Twitter?

The thing about numbers and Twitter is they are displayed front and centre of your Twitter Profile.   The number of Tweets is no secret.   We know how often you are Tweeting.   It is a numbers game and it is about productivity.   Only 93 Tweets, what’s that not about.  You do make judgments on quantity as well as quality.

Follow me … on Twitter

This is going to be the new bumper sticker for the virtual library car.    You probably saw this coming but let’s give the health care library Twitter community a boost.   Follow that Twitter feed.   Be free with your Favourite button.    Retweet with a purpose.

Matt Holland
@NWASLibrary
@matthewholland

NWAS LKS supported by NW Health Care Libraries Unit (HCLU)

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One Response to Twitter. What’s that all about then? or how I almost learned to love Twitter by Matt Holland

  1. Pingback: Ten things to think about when Retweeting (RT) by Matt Holland | LIHNN Clinical Librarians

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