Tag Archives: Twitter

Advent calendar – Twits a wonderful life

Where are we with Twitter and Intute? The subject of the today’s advent calendar post.

Twitter is the word of the year for 2009 according to some and the Google Zeitgeist for 2009 says that it is the fastest growing search term of the year. How has providing a status update of just 140 characters taken over the online world and does it have any relevance to academia?

Here at Intute we have been experimenting with Twitter for some time, in fact here is a visual representation of what we have been Tweeting about over the last year:

That seems like a pretty fair summary of the sort of websites that Intute adds to the catalogue and the topics that Intuters have a professional interest in.

Has Twitter had an impact? Clearly, it has …

  • Nearly 10,000 followers across the 20 Intute Twitter channels
  • Twitter is in the top 20 for websites bringing users to Intute
  • Those visitors stay on the site twice as long as users from Google

… and on a personal level, I have been asked to write articles, speak at events and contribute to projects as a result of the connections that I’ve made using Twitter – even using some of those connections to come up with content for my presentations.

Twitter in Twenty Twinutes

However, it is important to have a sense of realism about Twitter.

The Farmville application on Facebook has more users than Twitter and as with many Web 2.0 applications, there is a danger that it is just people who like technology, talking to other people who like technology, about how great technology is – ie preaching to the converted.

What’s the role for Twitter in academia?

UK Universities are experimenting with Twitter feeds and are starting to promote them as ways of receiving real time information about services.

Twitter can be used to amplify conferences and events, but there are dangers to having an uncontrolled backchannel of communication.

Teaching with Twitter is not for the faint hearted, but there is potential for it to enhance the student experience and to provide real time feedback to teachers.

We are still at the stage of experimenting and looking for potential uses for Twitter. Online evangelists will need to realise that the vast majority of University activities will carry on perfectly well without being Tweeted about and probably always will.

What’s next for Twitter?

Recent innovations from Twitter include a new mobile interface to compete with the plethora of mobile apps produced by others, the ability to compile lists of users so you can collate Twitterers into topics or groups of friends and an inline ReTweet function that has upset many users.

What happens with Twitter in 2010 is difficult to predict. Feature creep may dilute the simple joys of sharing how you feel, the hype may die down and Twitter could genuinely become part of the mainstream of online life or this time next year, we could all be wondering that happened to Twitter?.

Related posts

Intute features more Internet resources relating to Twitter and a list of all the Intute Twitter channels is available.

A beginners’ guide to Twitter

Twitter logo

Recently, I was asked to write up my experiences of using Twitter for ALISS – the Association of Library and Information professionals in the Social Sciences – for their journal ALISS Quarterly.

The good folks at ALISS have kindly agreed to let me make the article available online, so my musings on A beginners’ guide to Twitter are available via this blog as well.

It’s a brief look at:

  • What is Twitter?
  • What can Twitter be used for?
  • Ways of Twittering
  • Why has Twitter been so successful?

You can keep track of what is happening with Intute by following Intute on Twitter or if you want to find more subject specific information, then log in to your Twitter account, click on Find people and you’ll discover a whole range of Twitter channels from various Intute editors.

Or if Twitter is not your thing, then you can connect with us via a whole host of other Social Media sites listed on our community page.

Follow Intute on Twitter

Loyal readers may well have spotted that Intute has been experimenting with Twitter for a while, now we are going to be Twittering on behalf of the service as a whole.

Up to now we have been providing a range of subject based updates and some of these seem to have been quite successful – for example the Intute: Economics, Intute: Visual Art and Intute: Psychology channels.

Some analysis of the first 500 followers for our economics channel shows that some of our users are already on Twitter, talking about Intute and kindly spreading the word about some of things we are up to.

In the past, I’ve written about different ways of using Twitter – passive Twittering – sending existing content to Twitter via a service like Twitterfeed – and active Twittering – where a real person provides updates and tries to become a guide on a topic or to a particular service.

A few weeks ago, the Intute channel on Twitter was set up as a passive feed of existing Intute activities, now we are going to take on a more active role and as an experiment for the next few months, we’ll be actively Twittering during what will be a very busy time for Intute (but more of that later).

… if it is good enough for organisations such as Copac, the British Library and even the FBI, then it’s about time that we played our part.

So now we are actively joining the conversation, what should we be Tweeting about?

  • The best or most interesting new resources added to Intute
  • News and updates about the Intute service
  • Some of the best bits from the library and information blogosphere
  • Re-Tweeting some key information from HEA Subject Centres, JISC Services and others
  • Responding to your comments, queries and feedback

… or anything else that may be of interest to Intute users – but hopefully you will be using Twitter to send us new websites to add to Intute, let us know if you want to know more about how we work and what we do or just to stop by and say hello.

So if you don’t want to get in touch via our email Help Desk, let us know your thoughts via our rolling feedback survey or even by leaving a comment on one of our blogs, you can now follow Intute on Twitter.

The Intute Twitter 500

The Intute Economics Twitter channel recently acquired it’s 500th follower – this seems like a good opportunity to reflect on this Twitter experiment.

The world seems all a-quiver about Twitter at the moment – whether it is Twitter-bashing viral animations, implications that it could be more important than UK Newspaper websites or acting as an intriguing communication channel for events such as the JISC Conference.

After using Twitter in a personal capacity for a while, I set up the Intute Economics channel back in November and in the new year we launched a few more channels including the Intute Psychology channel.

So how have we been using Twitter? How could you be using Twitter? What are the keys to the success of Twitter? I was recently asked to pull together a few thoughts on this for a meeting at the ILRT – and the slides are available online and below:

Some top Twitter tips that have struck me …

Learn from the crowd

I used Twitter to help me crowdsource my presentation, ask for feedback and to get virtual questions that I answered during the presentation. Although there are problems with Twitter Search it does enable you to filter your results to those Tweets containing links – a real-time search engine.

It’s not another Facebook

You do not have to recreate your existing social networks on Twitter – if you are not getting quality information via Twitter then change the people you are following – the opt-in model of friends / followers means you control the dataset – try Mr. Tweet for automatic suggestions.

Choose your Twittering personality

Active Twittering – or having a real person update and respond to tweets is the best approach, but Passive Twittering or sending your existing content to Twitter – via a service like Twitterfeed can work too and may work for some organisations.

Keep track of your followers

Twitter Analyzer enables you to take a closer look at your followers – ours describe themselves as students, economists, editors, entrepreneurs – clearly the sort of people Intute is aimed at, Twitter is being used by normal people and not just the IT crowd.

How followers of @intuteeconomics describe themselves:


Monitor what’s being said about you … and respond

Twitter Search offers an easy way to keep track of what people are saying about you or your service – although you may wish go for a tool that searches several sites such as Social Mention or Icerocket – keep track of what is being said about you and respond.

In conclusion …

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how work relevant a simple tool like Twitter can be – I was very sceptical at first – it is still very much a Marmite app – you’ll love it or you’ll hate it – but weren’t we saying that about blogs or even the Internet a few years ago?

Intute features a number of experimental Twitter channels:

… and finally

Who was that 500th follower – none other than Brian Kelly of UK Web Focus fame!

Friends, fans, followers … lend me your clicks

Recently the issue of digital identities has been invading my consciousness  – not so much what do we mean by an online friend, but how do we acquire or stumble into different groups of people online – so I thought that I’d do an inventory of the various Web 2.0 sites and the groups that have coalesced round me.

Facebook – possibly my least favourite Web 2.0 app – I can’t say that I have ever had a period when I was really into it – the creeping agglomeration of personal information about me and the very closed walls somehow discourage me from doing any social networking there – however the reality is that it is the big beast on the block, the friends are all people that I know and there are people there, who I’m not in contact with any other way.

Twitter – possibly my favourite Web 2.0 app – it has disarmed me into sending message to complete strangers – or at least those that choose to follow me first – even the term – follower – is light-touch and non-threatening – in the beginning I weeded out people I did not know, whereas now only an easy to spot spammer or marketeer will get blocked – I only know 20% of my followers in real life, but I’ve interacted online with a much higher proportion of them thanks to Twitter.

Delicious – there was quite a long time when I did not even realise that there were networking features on Delicious! But I eventually discovered my network and the fact that I had fans! A lovely phrase and a complement in that these people seem to think that what I’m bookmarking is worth watching – while I know about half my network there, the fact that strangers like what I come across, makes me feel good.

Flickr – there’s a real point to Flickr – I’ve just collected people if I like their photos, and some of them have reciprocated, though many were already known to me and the social side of just wanting to keep up with what people are doing – in photo form – is what has pulled me in – not very far, but the pictures give you an instant hit and a clearer idea of what people are doing.

So what do all these different groups mean? There’s nowhere the groups match exactly, so there are different people for different sites – despite the recent attempts to start bringing these groups together – with one Web 2.0 service talking to another – that should come as no surprise, we go down a pub with a different group of people we might go out to the cinema with or out clubbing or even social bookmarking.

Ideally a Web 2.0 site with social networking facility should have the low bar and friendliness of interaction of Twitter, the actual sense of doing something you get with Flickr, the surprise of fan-dom of Delicious and the comprehensive pool of people of Facebook – too much to ask? Probably!

Perhaps my view will change once I get round to reading Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody

Follow Intute Economics on Twitter

Would you like to keep up-to-date with our blog posts about economics and the latest economics Internet resources added to Intute – then why not follow Intute Economics on Twitter.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking site that is lightweight, easy-to-update and easy to follow. Twitter asks one question, “What are you doing?” Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web. Think of it as the status update part of Facebook – and that is all.

How to Twitter?

Sign up for an account at Twitter – which just needs an email address – you can then search for some of your existing contacts to see if they are already twittering and choose to follow them – ie subscribe to their updates in your timeline – then register your mobile phone if you want to be able to use that to update your Twitter status.

Why Twitter?

I have been using Twitter in a personal capacity for nearly six months and it has helped me get to know people I already knew a lot better, make new contacts, helped me discover new Internet sites and helped to spread the word about all things Intute – plus it’s easy to get on your phone and a lot of fun too! For me it works because it is quick, simple and informal – it does one thing, but does it well – let’s you know what people (or organisations) are up to.

So what about Intute Economics on Twitter?

This is very much an experiment – a bit like the recent announcement about the Intute Facebook group and fan pages – but it will be an alternative way of keeping up to speed with Intute Economics and I will try to keep track of all those interested in economics and the Internet on Twitter – let us know what you think.

Getting more from Twitter

You can use Twitter to update your status in Facebook using the Twitter application, search Twitter to find out what people are saying about topics that interest you or monitor what they are saying about you or your brand, plus there is a huge range of other web apps that are Twitter related – about pictures, music, video etc.

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources about Economics.