Observation: Three pages worth of twitters…not so much fun to read, not informative. It’s like reading a couple thousand lines of chat backlog. I signed up for Twitter when I read that SLA (Special Library Assocation) had set up an account for backchannel chatter at this year’s conference. Sounded fine to me, but I think in practice, it’s just too much. BUT. I could see where it would be fun if you were keeping up with specific friends and colleagues at a conference or other large event because in those cases, I’d *care* about their flights and how long they are waiting for a table at a restaurant. Random people I don’t know…not so much. I wonder how many pages of conference twitters will accumlate tomorrow, after it’s in full swing! I haven’t heard about using Twitter for conferences, not sure how well it’s worked or what other people have thought about it. Perhaps people like myself will just lurk and mostly not read the posts while a few groups take better advantage of it.
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 del.icio.us (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.” del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us 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 del.icio.us. 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.