Getting started on Twitter, professionally

I’ve been using Twitter casually for a year or two, but purely as a way of keeping up an ongoing, semi-random conversation with a group of friends, almost all in the USA, some of whom I’ve met, some I haven’t. I was most definitely not using it for anything professional. But now that I’m trying to get back into blogging and professional reading and all that good stuff, I thought I’d better look at whether Twitter would be of any use to me.

So, I leave the old account for my personal conversations (and switch emails so that the random librarians who were finding me via my email address now get my professional account instead) and start up a new account. Slight annoyance: I can’t use my full name (the curse of the 11-letter surname). SChamberlain and S_Chamberlain are taken so I have to default to the clumsy use of both initials. My fault for not being an early adopter.

Finding people to subscribe to was a lot easier than I thought. Twitter suggested I follow some librarians that were in my email contacts list, and from looking at their followed list I could easily identify another 50 to follow (either because I recognised the names or because they had ‘librarian’ somewhere in their user name, or because they represented a blog or company like Read Write Web or Yahoo).

I’ve been on less than a day and I can already see how compelling and how useful this is. I’m picking up blog posts from sites that I wouldn’t bother to subscribe to in Google Reader, but that I’m happy to read tweets from (figuring that tweets are easier to skim over; the transaction cost of following on Twitter is less than the cost of subscribing to hundreds of blogs and having to read through thousands of posts if I miss a few days).

Will have to lurk a while and watch the back and forth of conversation before leaping in. But so far, I’m liking this.

Some interesting posts on Twitter from the last few months, some of which were influential in me signing up:

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About simonchamberlain

New Zealand librarian and music fan, living in London.
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