Government on Twitter

If you’re looking for government entities, think tanks or other media related to all levels of government on Twitter, Bearing Point has compiled a nice list of them here.

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Tweetstats

I haven’t blogged about Twitter lately. It’s still my favorite Web 2.0 application that no one is really using. I thought for a brief second there during the end of the presidential campaign when CNN and C-SPAN were using it that it might have made the leap to “commoner” (i.e. non-techie and non-librarian) use. But I guess not.

And do you know why I still like it? For the conversation. It’s all but weaned me off of IM, although I have been trying to get back onto that this weekend. Today I discovered (through my twitter list, naturally) a new analytic site for one’s tweets called Tweetstats. My tweet cloud appears below:

tweetstats1

See all the @ symbols? That’s me talking to someone.

Tweetstats isn’t actually all that exciting of a site…no different really than Wordle or any of the other word cloud sites out there. I just like it because I finally have proof of Twitter’s conversations.

Twitter and Customer Service

I’ve heard stories about companies using Twitter for customer service. However, I’ve never tried to use actively solicit company help or received any via Twitter. Until today.

I’m currently in the middle of creating a presentation on library services for one of our law journals. For last minute presentations like this that have a lot of links and information that the students will need later, I like to use wikis. I’ve been using PBwiki but today they ticked me off in two ways. (1) They advertised a promotion earlier that would give librarians and educators a free premium PBwiki account, but as I found out today, you have to spam people to get it. (2) When I tried to login to my account to create tomorrow’s presentation, it wouldn’t let me login.

So I switched to wikispaces. AND, because I like to send pointless little messages, I tweeted the whole experience. Well, I came back from lunch today and checked my replies. Lo and behold, I saw this:

It’s a cheery little greeting from wikispaces! And also a kinda creepy one!  I’m not twitter friends with this person (who is apparently the founder of wikispaces), so I guess he found my posts by running searches.  The article I linked to above mentions several companies that have full time staff searching Twitter for complaints about their services.

I’m not sure of how widespread the use of Twitter is by law students, but perhaps I’ll do a search every now and then to see if my library pops up.

Community and Aggregation

While I was waiting for the coffee to kick in this morning (it still hasn’t), I decided to start playing around with TweetWheel, a website that shows how your Twitter friends are connected with each other. (Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I. LOVE. GRAPHS. ) This is what my TweetWheel looks like (click to enlarge):

I was really surprised by the interconnectedness of my Twitter contacts. For comparison purposes, here’s the latest look at my Facebook Friend Wheel (again, click to enlarge):

I guess that’s why, although Facebook has more bells and whistles (e.g. photos, shared posted items, notes/blog posts), Twitter feels more like a community and it’s easier to “meet people” that you otherwise wouldn’t. It’s started to make me long for the days when I spent hours at Television Without Pity and had an Internet posse.

Of course, there is a way to combine community and bells and whistles…that would be my favorite Web 2.0 service du jour Friend Feed. (You can follow me here.) The nice thing about FriendFeed, besides that fact that it’s actually operational most of the time *cough* FailWhale *cough*, is that it’s a one stop shop for people to catch your activity on various Web 2.0 sites (Forty-three at last count) and a conversation can start based on these feed activities. Be warned, though – because of this FriendFeed can be a major time suck.

How can libraries (as institutions) use this? I see no harm in creating an institutional profile. (And create one for yourself while you’re at it because I guarantee you’ll either learn something new or at least see something amusing.) It’d be a way of pushing all of your libraries services (such as a flickr account or del.icio.us bookmarks) in one place and may act as a discovery tool for these services for patrons. Who knows? Maybe a conversation or two may spark up which could lend itself to some Information Literacy training.) However, I think a better option for libraries who want to aggregate their Web 2.0 services would be to use the not yet released Sweetcron. It will require a little more technical know-how to use, since it’s self-hosted and open-source (thus allowing for customization), but the payoff of being able control it (read: institutionally brand it), remove your library from the FriendFeed noise (which can be overwhelming) and not being at the mercy of a 3rd party host (*cough* FAIL WHALE *cough*) may be worth it.