UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

One Minute Madness: Twitter: An Essential Tool for the Information Professional!

Posted by Brian Kelly on 23 Jun 2010

Recently I described the One-Minute Madness session which will be held at Evidence, Value and Impact: the LIS Research Landscape in 2010. I have now decided on the title of my talk for the conference: in 60 seconds I will argue that Twitter is An Essential Tool for the Information Professional.

Here’s what I intend to say:

Twitter is now an essential tool for today’s information professional. The evidence shows that in some areas recommendation using social media services, such as Twitter, is overtaking Google in driving traffic.

I myself use which shows that tweets are now delivering significant traffic to my blog – or look at the viral effect Twitter provided for the recent CILIP1 campaign.

Twitter provides many of the benefits which we expected from RSS – but allows users to respond and discuss the ideas.

Twitter is valuable when time is at a premium. No time to read through all of those lengthy posts on LIS-LINK? Well then develop your professional network using Twitter and find yourself receiving well-targetted resources and pithy summaries – and serendipitous benefits in receiving the unexpected.

And you can do this on the bus or the train travelling to work (although use when driving is not recommended!)

Twitter: clearly an essential tool for the information professional: the evidence demonstrates its value – but librarians need to embrace it in order to maximise the impact it can provide.

Hmm – is that too much content for 60 seconds? Here’s my first attempt (MP3 audio file) with the text slightly modified).

So this is about a 1 minute argument on the benefits of Twitter for information professionals.  Clearly the issues are more complex than can be given in this short period of time.  But, allowing for that, would you agree or disagree with the basic premise that, slightly more nuanced, Twitter can provide a valuable tool which can support the activities for many information professionals?

5 Responses to “One Minute Madness: Twitter: An Essential Tool for the Information Professional!”

  1. Ben Toth said

    Agreed – it’s vital for information professionals to understand and advocate Twitter.

    But for a non technical audience I’d make the analogy that Twitter is like a human RSS feed, not a replacement for RSS.

    And equally, lest people get too excited, I’d say it’s becoming an important parallel channel to Google, not a direct competitor.

    • Hi Ben – I like the idea that, for non-technical people, Twitter can be described as being analagous to providing a collaboration aspect to information which has previously been made available via RSS.

      And yes, itr will complement existing search engines such as Google.

  2. Totally agree that Twitter is crucial now. Are folks aware of this article? It’s the best explanation I know of why Twitter works in theory where email, Facebook, etc doesn’t.

    How Twitter works in theory

    Amongst other things it says that Twitter works because it’s a “flow” you dip in and out of, not a ever-growing pile of messages like you inbox; because you see notes from people you care about with their “faces” to help you respond, which makes it a comfortable place to go regularly; and most importantly because asymmetric following allows you to filter messages coming to you, but also allows you to build a large “public” (if you’re interesting enough) of followers without you having to do anything, or care about their comments, unlike the two-way friendship confirmations and subsequent newsfeed incursions set up by Facebook. So, it’s an easy, friendly place for interesting people – no wonder it works.

    I do balk slightly at advocating that universities start using en masse what is a closed environment provided by a commercial company. More and more the experience will be tainted by advertising, and the namespace issues (@drjoebloggs_official_honest_therealthing) will get worse. Eventually universities should run their own Twitter-a-like networks that can crossover with Twitter and each other – e.g. using OStatus ( – but until this pipe dream becomes a reality (> 2012?) Twitter is definitely the place to see, and to be seen.

  3. Rebecca Davies said

    Just did a presentation on this to the Annual Gregynog conference for IT & Library staff in HE in Wales & I came up with..
    “I use Twitter to:
    * stay in touch
    * get to things I can’t afford to go to…
    * get back to Uni / keep up with the sector
    * use other peoples ideas
    * get funding
    * give some staff an easy way to talk to me
    * prove that you’re doing stuff when you’re not in the office – like today
    * warn folks of what’s getting me interested…
    * find out more about someone…

    & much better than my list is @SarahNicolas who did a quick survey of information professionals using the hastage #HiSarah & lots of folks tweeted in to say why they value/use Twitter – well worth having a peek at.

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