Sunday Reflections: an Ode* to Twitter (by Robin Willis)
People love to hate what they don’t understand. In the years that it has been a vibrant social media platform, I’ve heard a lot of criticism of Twitter. Who can say anything of import in 140 characters? It dumbs down media to the soundbite. It’s just people posting what they had for lunch. And yes, all of those things are present on Twitter. And easy to avoid. Twitter is, essentially, what you make of it. And, as a well trained information professional, you can make a masterpiece.
Let me tell you what Twitter is to an information professional – it is a lifeline. How many of us do our professional work in isolation? As a school librarian, I am the only information professional in my building. While I have strong, mutually enriching, professional relationships with the other educators in my building, there is no one else there who does what I do. Or understands what I do. I can only hope that they value it. I have colleagues in my school system and a healthy support system of other school librarians. We meet once or twice a month, send emails, call in an emergency, but we are all frantically busy when our students are in the building. It can be a lonely, isolating professional journey in the day to day.
But oh, how the Internet has been a boon to our profession! And Twitter is it’s greatest gift. When I have five minutes to see what is happening with our profession, where can I go? I go to Twitter. There, I can interact with any number of information professionals at a moment’s notice. I can find links to articles I never would have known about otherwise. I can enrich and inform my professional life, share in the joy of a successful program, offer support to someone who is struggling with a tricky reader’s advisory issue, or simply be a listening ear.
Do you want to extend your professional learning community beyond the walls of your building, or the edges of your campus? Are you interested in engaging with other professionals both within and outside of your specialized area of librarianship? Do you enjoy seeking and giving help for unusual information quandaries? Interested in staying abreast of current issues, technologies,and trends? All of these things and more** are available to you on Twitter.
*You didn’t really think this would be a lyric poem, did you?
**More = stalking (and sometimes interacting with!) your favorite authors.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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