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Why I need Twitter & RSS (CPD23 Thing 4)

Posted: July 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: professional development | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments »

Fact: RSS and Twitter are my top 2 favourite things on the Internet. Big call I know, but it’s been this way since 2007. And 4 years is a long time in internet years.

Embrace 2.0 by cmdrfletcher on flickr

Recently the CPD23 crew asked us to consider current awareness tools on the interwebs: namely Twitter, RSS, & Pushnote. As I am completely new to Pushnote, the following are my thoughts on twitter & rss. (I *may* write on Pushnote in the future.)

In the past I’ve referred to Twitter as my dear other spouse. I stand by this. I totally rate Twitter as my current favourite online socialising, networking & sharing tool. As I mentioned before, for me Twitter is the King of:

  • sharing links, info, and quick advice
  • real-time searching
  • short, sharp quip-laden conversations
  • staying up-to-date – follow industry people & get their thoughts as they have them & read/view what they deem sharable
  • virtually being there – “attend” conferences/concerts/demonstrations by following hashtags & hear what the backchannel really thinks
  • democratising the web – I can tweet anyone, anything, instantly. No more searching for email addresses or phone numbers & fretting about how to say what I feel in wordy emails or (gasp!) phone calls. Just tweet them your thoughts or query in 140 characters. You may even get a reply!

My advice for twitter:

  • Get a short username – it makes conversing with you & retweeting your tweets easier, as your username doesn’t eat most of the 140 character limit
  • Use a twitter client NOT the website – it will change your experience & opinion of Twitter completely. Repeat: do NOT use the website (try tweetdeck, etc)
  • @ reply people to get involved in the conversations – this is integral to “getting the whole twitter thing”
  • fill in your profile & perhaps be yourself
  • follow #hashtags
  • stick with it

I love how twitter flicks me around the intermehnet as I follow tweeted links & hashtags. In this way, twitter is a huge part of my how I keep up to date with my hobbies, my profession & my learning. Not just a real-time communication tool offering friendly advice, humour, insight, and professional support, twitter is a crowd-sourced RSS feed that I trust & benefit from extensively.

Enter: The Segue…

RSS is The Business.
It makes the net drivable. Given there are a gazillion billion sites out there, it is hard to keep up with what you want, right? Hard no more. Since I began using RSS I have control over the many, many sights I frequent, and I always remember to read my favourites. At the least, I have them stored to read later.

The bestest things about RSS:

  • it’s searchable! Read something fascinating but can’t remember where? Search your feeds: brilliant!
  • you can stop bookmarking endless sites & opening many, many sites each day and simply open your reader
  • folders keep like feeds together
  • reduce your inbox by unsubscribing via email to your many fave sites & subscribe via your reader instead

My advice for RSS:

  • create & use folders
  • subscribe to pertinent comment streams to continue your conversations in the blogosphere
  • I use googlereader and I highly recommend it
  • if you have your own blog/website, add prominent RSS posts AND comments feed buttons to your site

I tell people I love RSS & Twitter. I do adore these tools, and I need them. If you are into sharing & simplifying web navigation, then I suggest you need them too.

  • flexnib July 17, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Great post!

    I couldn’t agree more. These days, I am finding it harder and harder to understand how librarians keep up to date without these two tools. Some might argue that they “don’t have time” and that email lists fill that niche for them. I always think: if you don’t have time, it can’t be a priority. And email might be adequate, but these days it’s actually kind of slow (I see things on Twitter first), and mailing lists are usually entirely profession-centric. Twitter and RSS broaden your horizons, as you can listen and chat to people from across the range of professions.

    • dpgreen July 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Hello~ thanks very much for reading & for yr comment! Yes, it is hard for me to ‘get’ how librarians keep up to date w/out twitter & rss. I also see things on twitter first, & I don’t even tweet @ work (yet). You are right: listening & chatting w/ ppl from across the range of professions in Libraryland is a huge plus to using RSS & Twitter; these tools definitely “broaden your horizons.”

  • Beverley July 28, 2011 at 1:13 am

    I’m fairly new to Twitter but have spent ages trying to explain RSS to people. I look after a website for the local Girl Guides and was asked to send an email everytime I updated it. Huh? Impromtu training on RSS feeds followed (not easy with no computer handy). . What I like about Twitter is the conversational tone it all has. Blogs, even Facebook, are you stating your case. Because Twitter is 140 characters it is far more like a conversation. Professionally we have not found a way to use Twitter or Facebook. We are a tiny library with one full time staff and three parttime. We struggle to keep up with things as it is and because of the immediacy of both Facebook and Twitter you have to keep on top of them.

    • dpgreen August 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      Hi & thx for yr comment :) I apologise for taking so long to reply. Yours sounds like a great case for an impromptu RSS class, but w/out a pc? Ouch! And YES! the conversational tone of twitter is an awesome communication opener, & a democratiser I feel. I do struggle to keep up with the FB & twitter accounts for MPOW, so I often do it from home. Naughty I know, & not always practical because – as you say – of the immediacy people expect from these networks. Do you find the GG website takes a lot of your time?

      • Beverley August 21, 2011 at 1:47 am

        The GG site is cyclical. We are gearing up for fall registration (other hemisphere from you) and have just had a major International camp in our province – please imagine 2500 girls from around the world and between 10 and 18 all in one place – so I’m starting to get lots of stuff. But other times it can be very quiet. I look after the content on our library site, too, and I’m naughty and do that from home most of the time.

        • dpgreen August 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm

          Whoa! That is a huge amount of ppl – awesome fun, & exhausting, I’m sure. I loved cubs & scouts growing up, & camps were excellent. Tho I’ve never been to something that huge. Funny how we tend to do work tech stuff @ home. For me, it is partly because I feel too busy @ work with stuff I can only do @ work (with lib system, collection, etc, etc) & I know that it is something I can do uninterrupted @ home. Also, I prefer my Mac. And I think I feel like I can be more creative @ home so I do leave most of the blog, etc stuff for my home environment. I am creative @ work for sure, but I think the key is feeling less rushed & no interruptions. Also, I do really enjoy this part of my job so that is probably part of why I don’t mind taking it home. I wonder if many, or most, library workers take home their library site/blogs/etc work? Good luck with your work :)

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