I am on Twitter and Yammer all the time at work. I love them! Yes, they can be inane. Yes, they can be distracting. But they are invaluable network and research tools.
I found Yammer easier to get into, in part because your network is already made for you (because it’s your colleagues in your workplace). Twitter takes time and effort to build up networks, so the adoption curve is that much greater. It too me a couple years (and a lot of Yammer use) to get tweeting. At this stage, I find that while I post prolifically on Yammer, I’m still tend towards lurking in Twitter.
So why do I like them so much?
- Because they are micro-blogging sites they are excellent at capturing the immediacy of a moment. A blog post is good for reflection and analysis.
- It’s an excellent search tool. If I want information on a subject I will often go to Twitter before Google. Twitter searches turn up more recent information. It is also filtered by the best form of intelligence – people. In Twitter, the cream really does rise. Good posts are tweeted and re-tweeted, and the fact that tweets can include URLs mean that you can find blog posts, images, podcasts, etc.
- Twitter helps improve your writing. Trying to pack in 140 characters means that you sometimes have to carefully edit before you post.
- It’s a great way to ask for information. I’ve had a number of queries answered via both Twitter and Yammer. It’s often quicker and more efficient than sending e-mails to lists of people.
- Twitter has a lot of really cool tools. Twitpics allows you to post photos to Twitter. Tweetdeck can help you manage your Twitter, Facebook and Myspace accounts from the one application. Echofon is a nice Firefox app that sits quietly in the corner of your browser and pops up when you receive a new tweet.
- It enables you to be helpful. Building a network is as much about giving as getting. The more you give time and help to your networks, the more you’ll get back.
Twitter has recently added lists to its bag of tricks. Now you can sort the twits that you follow into lists, which seems to be a popuilar activity amongst people that I follow.
Applications for libraries? Again, organising a community around you, which you can use for promotion is one obvious use. Another is Reference Queries by Tweet. Or check out this ning site for more ideas.