a-Twitter about Second Life? Or something?

So I recently returned from a conference called Computers in Libraries 2008. It was way more interesting than it sounds! 🙂 Lots of librarians around the country (and the world) are talking about finding ways to use so-called Web 2.0 technologies in their libraries. There were sessions about Facebook, blogging, wikis, etc. I went to a couple of particularly interesting sessions — interesting in that they dealt with technologies that I personally haven’t used very much, but that are growing in popularity. These include the sites Twitter (which I’ve never tried) and (which I have), and the virtual world of Second Life (never been there either). In case anyone is not familiar with one or more of these, let me briefly explain them. Twitter lets you post very brief responses to “what are you doing now?” and follow other people’s responses to the same question. It’s been referred to as “micro-blogging.” is a social bookmarking site — you can save websites you like, tag them with descriptions, access them from anywhere (unlike bookmarks in your web browser) and share them with others. And Second Life is a virtual world in which you can create an avatar and simulate real-world activities, such as shopping, building things, attending concerts or lectures, and meeting people from around the world. The conference session on Twitter and failed to convince me about the former, but had some good ideas for using the latter in the library, especially in reference and instruction. The session on Second Life showed a few interesting examples but mainly served to point out that there’s not a huge demand for library services in Second Life because not that many people use Second Life itself, at least not yet. So, I’m curious about others’ usage of these three items. The only one I’ve tried at all, as I said, is Do you use it, and for what? How about Twitter? What’s so great about it? How about Second Life? Can you see a role for any of these in the library, or for educational purposes in general? I’d be very interested to know about others’ experiences with these technologies.

8 thoughts on “ a-Twitter about Second Life? Or something?”

  1. – I have an account, but I keep forgetting about it.

    Twitter – I don’t use this, and probably won’t unless a lot of friends are on my case about using it

    Second Life – btdt, gtts. *yawn* Someone else can mess around with this and make it happen in an easier way a few years down the road.

  2. Don’t believe the hype…

    Twitter seems like a “service” for people who need to be connected to a hive mind while they wander this lonely planet we inhabit. is nice if you like to share but it also can be used against you by identity thieves.

    Second life is cool because it is free but the first life you have to live is too short to waste time in Second life.

    My question is if you make these technologies too much a part of your everyday life what will you do when the lights go out during a power failure or a cable cut on network backbone?

    The nice thing about physical books is that you can still read them by candle light.

  3. delicious, althought not something I use every day, seems the most immediately useful to me. By sharing accounts, mashing feeds together, and publishing those feeds using web widgets you can create quite a nice research workflow.

    In more concrete terms, Snell’s Scholarly Communication page uses a shared delicious account by which all committee members bookmark useful sites and articles. Then those bookmarks are automatically added to the little news widget in the middle of the page. We never have to update the web page ourselves.

    (Let me also give proper credit, though: even though any committee member could add to that delicious account, our fearless chair does all the heavy lifting.)

    And while I could see that delicious could be used by identity thieves, I feel like that’s a relatively low risk.

    Less sure about Twitter, but here’s an interesting post referring a professor using it in class.

    (I’m also way too lazy to use the funky delicious punctuation.)

  4. Twitter is cool. Let’s me keep in touch with other web designers and get to know them better. It is also great to get ideas and feedback very quickly. I use strictly as a marketing tool for my own blog so the only time I use it is when I am trying to drive traffic from, which is nice.

    Second Life I haven’t touched and I am going to keep it that way. I second Johnathan’s comment about focusing on our first life.

  5. Hooray, I started a bit of conversation on this stuff! Thanks to everyone who added their thoughts. Amanda, thanks for the link about how academics might use Twitter.

    I’m definitely inclined to agree with Jonathan about Second Life vs. our actual REAL LIFE. 🙂

  6. I’m familiar with all three tools, but haven’t actually used any myself. I also enjoyed Amanda’s link to Professor David Parry’s experience. I support building close caring relationships, and if that comes via mini-updates on daily minutiae, well, there may be deeper meaning in those details that make up life. But I do think the pressure of always being “on”–witty, engaging and clever–might be too much for everyone.

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