Twitter has become so integral to my professional identity that it’s perhaps time to pause and reflect on my use of Twitter, in particular how it connects me to librarians and colleagues in other sectors.
I’ve been on Twitter since 2012 (as a result of participating in the CPD23 programme). I Tweet as @librarianpocket about issues relating to libraries, health care, professional development and other work stuff.
What I love about Twitter is that it allows me to connect with people that I might otherwise feel too wary to approach directly (something that I’m getting better at). As someone who is naturally cautious, Twitter makes me feel brave.
Twitter comes into its own, for me, at an event where people are tweeting, be it a conference or meeting, social event or workshop. Twitter has helped me to spark conversations with people that would never have happened under my own steam. After tweeting one of the speakers at a library conference, we ended up arranging to meet in the break and we had a really interesting discussion about ways we might work together. At an event to launch a new health care initiative, I tweeted using the official hashtag, and one of the event organisers approached me afterwards after recognising me from the photo on my Twitter account. Twitter helps me to engage and connect with people.
I use Twitter to keep up to date. For me, gone are the days of RSS feeds and email discussion lists – Twitter is what I use to stay connected to professional issues. Tweets from people that I follow signpost me to useful reports, news items and innovation in my areas of interest. I surround myself on Twitter with news feeds relating to my local community and local health issues, looking for opportunities to work in partnership with people outside my organisation. I recently used Twitter to promote our Reminiscence Box service to the local community. Using Twitter means I don’t lose touch with people. I engage with library colleagues from all sectors, including library contacts I’ve made from visiting libraries and conferences in India, Canada and across the UK.
Twitter has helped me to raise the profile of the Library and Knowledge Service within my own organisation. Our Communications team has encouraged the use of Twitter in the organisation over the last couple of years, so senior managers and clinicians, who ordinarily I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to speak to, are fellow Tweeters. It’s a good way to show that the Library and Knowledge Service is at the forefront of social media and technology – that we are librarians who know our stuff! The official Trust Twitter account often re-tweets me, endorsing what I’ve shared and disseminating it to a much wider range of people.
I’d definitely say that using Twitter helps me to be better at my job – I am more intrepid, I am better connected, gregarious and (arguably*) more interesting!
*Disclaimer: my colleagues may disagree!