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Tweeting While You Work – SLA Europe event

On 16 March I attended SLA Europe’s seminar ‘Tweeting While You Work.’
Dr Hazel Hall (@hazelh; @LISResearch; @CentSocInfo) of Napier University in Edinburgh, Julie Hall (@juliehall) of Women Unlimited and Julie Lewis (@judithlewis; @MostlyAboutChocolate; @Seshet) of Seshet Consulting gave their perspective on using Twitter at work and as part of our work.

All had multiple Twitter identities for multiple purposes. Hazel Hall also emphasised that her Facebook profile was the place where her non-work social networking took place, thus creating clear boundaries between Twitter as a work tool and as a social tool. To an extent this is what I have done too. My Twitter community for @Batty_Towers is now a mix of PhD-related people and work colleagues. Only some of these are interested in the football score or the trains I have taken, so I need to share carefully when using Tweetdeck: is this for Twitter and Facebook or just one service?

Hazel’s presentations is available here. So far the event’s been covered by VIP, WoodsieGirl and will feature on the SLA Europe blog. Photos are available too though thankfully none of me.

I have chosen to follow people who post work-related information. I use it as a kind of current awareness service – if there’s an interesting new paper or article it will be tweeted about by one if not more of the accounts I follow. This approach was challenged a bit by the Digital Researcher event I attended: this is probably not the way to fully exploit the advantages of social media within the research community. Julie Lewis took us through some of the interfaces for using Twitter. Julie Hall also emphasised the ways that Twitter had improved their business and opened doors to new opportunities. All clearly pointed out that the way to think about Twitter is as a public conversation; not just a mindless broadcast.

Bob De Laney, News & Business Director at Lexis Nexis chaired the event and asked a key question: Would you pay for Twitter access? Participants felt that on the whole, they would not – if Twitter started charging, users would migrate to another service that was free.

We have a library Twitter account; I set it up to track for political parties’ announcements during the party conferences when accessing other broadcast would have been difficult. Another colleague uses it to check conversations around a different topic. And we, excitingly, follow the BBA’s Libor rate. I cannot see us tweeting on behalf of the library just yet, I think that’s a little advanced: how would that fit with the firm’s social media strategy?. And there are plenty of other people tweeting the kind of library current awareness we would have access to. But it’s good to be in a position to contribute where we can, and know that we are not too far behind should opportunities arise to fully Twitter While We Work.

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