Thing 1 : Twitter


What is Twitter?
Twitter is a real-time information network sharing short messages called “tweets” that are just 140 characters long.  Twitter is a social network which allows people to choose which accounts they will follow and what information they wish to share with the people that follow them. This video from Commoncraft is a great overview of how Twitter works.     A lot of organisations, including libraries, also use Twitter.  Some examples include:  @britishlibrary, @librarycongress, @nlnz  and @PublicLibrarySG .

A lot of individuals also use Twitter, including astronauts, celebrities (eg. @wilw, @algore), authors (@maureenjohnson, @anitaheiss), sports people, royalty  and parody accounts.   There are also verified accounts as it is easy to imitate a person on Twitter (see the many accounts posing as Aung San Suu Kyi for example).  If you’re still not convinced that Twitter is for you, Ned Potter addresses some of the concerns people may have about Twitter in “7 reasons people don’t use twitter, and why ‘It’s a conversation’ is the answer to all of them

What is a hashtag and how does it work?
One of the features of Twitter is the use of hashtags.  They act as hyperlinks connecting conversations.  The use of hashtags to link conversations together has also carried over into other social networking tools like Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr.  Hashtags are particularly useful for regular conversations #kidlit, natural disasters #eqnz,  sporting events and teams #cricket, events #ifla #tedx and conferences #sxsw.

What is Twitter etiquette?
Just like any community, there are accepted ways of communicating and behaving.  Here is a guide to Twitter etiquette.

How are libraries using Twitter for online engagement?

How can library workers use it for professional development?

  • following conferences and seminars eg. #cyc4lib
  • building a personal learning network (PLN) of colleagues who share your professional interests (a new graduate librarian, Alisa Howlett, explored this idea in more detail)
  • keeping up with trends and industry news #npsig  #mtogo
  • sharing links to research and reports (eg Pew Internet)



  • Set up your Twitter account   (see the tips from Twitter)
  • You can use Twitter in the web browser, but it will be much easier to use an app
  • Explore the App Store or Google Play to find and install an app
  • Send a tweet: Using the #23mobilethings hashtag tweet the name of your favourite museum or library
  • Register your account for the course – if you would like us to add you to the list of people working on #23mobilethings please tweet a message to @23mobilethings
  • Using Twitter lists (you must be logged in to see lists) eg  Public Libraries in NSW
  • See what is trending on Twitter around the world
  • Storify to collect Tweets and links
  • There are more useful Twitter links on our Pinterest Board.



25 Comments on “Thing 1 : Twitter

  1. Pingback: Welcome aboard to the #ANZ23mthings course! | ANZ 23 Mobile Things

  2. Tweet could be useful for directing readers to information of interest.

  3. Have been using twitter for a wile, we use it at our library for announcements to customers etc and as a form of media.
    I have used as a reference tool too.
    I have also used at conferences as a way of note taking.

  4. Great way to instantly keep in touch with my network of friend and colleagues. Good for asking about interest or referrals for jobs etc.

    • Kim, does this mean you have two Twitter accounts, one for your professional life and one for your personal life? (Apologies if this is a dumb question – I’m a complete beginner.)

  5. Pingback: Week 1: Twitter | ANZ 23 Mobile Things

  6. thanks for the useful info on twitter etiquette. I use twitter for professional learning & sharing

  7. I already have a tweeter account, can I open a new one or only one is allowed?

    • I think you need a unique email address for each Twitter account – but if you have a second email, then you might want to have separate accounts for work and private life. I did that, and found I only ever use the work account, because whenever I want to share something from a workshop, a conference, or a blog, I mainly want to share it with people in libraries or schools.

      My personal account just sits there gathering dust! I don’t want to close it because it is a good username, just my last name – yes I created it in the olden days! Maybe someone on 23mobile things can think of a way I can use my personal Twitter account?

  8. In the ‘leave a reply’ field I have put my name and email. So what does the website stand for? (what website should i put in there?)

  9. I did my first tweet to @23mobilethings a little while ago but I cannot see it on the list of tweets, how do I find it and see if anyone is replying to it. I am a complete beginner.

  10. I think that the average tweets of patrons may not necessarily need to go in a library’s archive. However, ones by town officials or people reacting to major events may be of interest…

  11. I find it difficult to keep up to date with everything while the rest of what I’m meant to be doing is going on…

  12. I like this key sentence “…tweets are “a new kind of epistolary–postcards from a sensibility that over time, describe whole worlds.” Seen on the Pinterest page in article by Rita King, “How Twitter is Reshpaing the future of storytelling”.

  13. Pingback: My Patronus Is a Bookworm - Thing 1: Twitter

  14. I found my old account I set up a year ago. Opened the cage, dusted off its wings and letting it fly! Will try and keep up.

  15. I’ve only discovered #23mobilethings today after a discussion with a librarian about a paper I am doing this semester. I love the question ‘Do tweets belong in a library?’. I immediately thought, why put them in a library? They are already stored online for people to access, but then I changed my perspective. Yes people can access twitter at the library, but think of it like this. Many a famous people are quoted from books held in a library. Why should tweets be any different. Tweets are held online making it a little more accessible in this digital age but that doesn’t mean the library isn’t the best place for these quotes or tweets…

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Jan Holmquist | Mylee Joseph | Kathryn Barwick 2013