Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

So in the last few days I have had some conversations about the reuse of tweets, whether it is ethical to quote them, have you published when tweeting and generally around the whole concept of privacy and ethics.  I have had a few thoughts which I am going to share. Feel free to leap in and let me know where you think I have got it wrong.  O, and I am putting this on my writers’ blog The Worlds of Michael J Parry and my library blog The Room of Infinite Diligence because of many intersections.

The first question I considered is: “Is tweeting publishing”. The OED first defines publishing as “To make public”, or in fuller “To make public or generally known; to declare or report openly or publicly; to announce; (also) to propagate or disseminate (a creed or system). In later use sometimes passing into sense.” Which makes sense to me although from that you could say the act of speaking is publishing.

To me the act of publishing is when you take a thought, which up until that moment is privately held within your mind, and you then express it in some way that makes the thought more permanent and transmittable to others by some form of media.

By this definition, and by my way of thinking, then yes Tweeting is a form of publication.

So then the questions become even more complex. What rights do you as the originator of the tweet have other how the tweet is used? What responsibilities do the reader and potential re-user of the tweet have to you as the content creator?

For me it comes down, as it often does, to context. Do you have an expectation of privacy around your tweet? If you are tweeting from a locked account yes. You control who can see and read it. If you have a public account I don’t see how you can. A public account is by its nature, public.

To my mind, if you publicly tweet something, you are publishing it and giving it to the world for free to read and then potentially reuse. We implicitly agree to this through using the service and through our acceptance of such functionality as the ability to re-tweet.

Does the reader have any responsibility or special ethical considerations for the re-use of your tweet? Should a journalist say ask you permission before quoting? I would say if you have publicly tweeted then no.  They have no ethical considerations beyond the usual they should have when preparing a story.

But what about copyright? Fair use? Is a tweet a work, or a part of a work? Especially if it is published! This is a bit of a grey area for me.  It seems to me there is an implicit release of copyright in the act of tweeting. Especially in a public feed.


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I was fortunate enough to attend the National Digital Forum on Monday and Tuesday.  It was my first time at the conference, and I found it a very good conference. I liked the size, and makeup of the delegates, meeting and talking to others from similar sectors to the library was eye opening. I will at some point write something more about the conference, but for this post I just wanted to reflect on Twitter. 🙂

To my chagrin, as a technical librarian, going to a digital conference, I was lacking in gizmo’s 😆 I didn’t even have a clunky old laptop to connect to the wi-fi. I missed it too, the ability to make notes, and more importantly connect to the whole sub level that flows under conference’s via Twitter.  Twitter, while not giving you any real insight to the content of the conference, does give you an sense of what the delegates are thinking and how the conference is going. I also discovered, when I managed to borrow a netbook and hop onto Twitter for a while, that the process of Twittering helped me concentrate on the talk.

There were a number of conversations to be had about twitter including the idea that at future conferences  your twitter profile [if you have one] should be printed on your name tag. Then when you meet some who you know only virtually, you will be able to make that instant connection.

Another conversation I had was about multiple twitter profiles. Should you have one for your personal life, and a separate one for your professional? Or if you have more than one online persona, even more. Me for example. I could have a separate one for my writing life, another one for my professional life, and a third for my personal life. I have had that debate with myself recently, and come to the conclusion, especially as I have now come out from behind the curtain of anonymity, that I only want one. After all what I tweet is me in my entirety. I feel that to try and compartmentalize your online presence is to try and hide part of who you are, which for me is not a good thing.

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As you know I am really impressed with the concept behind Waimakariri Libraries Twitter account First_Lines, where they take the first line of a book and tweet it with a link back to the catalog.

In fact I am so impressed I asked if they would mind if I used it on the Tararua Library Twitter account. They, being lovely collegial people said yes. In fact we had an idea to make it a challenge. Let see what first lines libraries can find. So for all you library tweeters out there, tweet the first line of a book with a link back to your catalog. Include the hastag #firstlines and lets see how many like the same ones, how many bad ones there are and how many good ones!

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I have to confess that every time I see a tweet in my tweetstream of “I’ve become Mayor of…” from Foursquare I get a flash of annoyance. My curmudgeonly side surfaces and I want to hit the block button. 😆

You see I don’t really get Foursquare.  Off course that may have something to do with the fact that I don’t have a fancy pants cellphone that connects to the Internet, but even so it seems one of the creepier Social Media apps floating around out there.

What interests me though is the thought of how libraries can hook into it. Are libraries out there offering “Rewards” via Foursquare, or thinking about it? What would you offer, and would people really want to become the Mayor of Dannevirke District Library?

I found Palmerston North, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Wellington libraries on their site…

For further reading here is an article from Stuff:

Hip to be on Foursquare

Nine times out of 10, when Dunedin businesswoman Sam Heeney walks into a cafe, bar or restaurant she pulls out her mobile phone and “checks in”.

It might seem strange but Ms Heeney is not alone – more than two million smartphone users around the world do the same as members of Foursquare, the next big thing in location-based, social networking.

Foursquare encourages members to check in to locations on their GPS-enabled phones so they can let friends know where they are and earn points and rewards from businesses for being regular visitors.

The most frequent visitor at any given place is crowned “mayor”, and members can review and comment on places for friends, and also publish their Foursquare updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Ms Heeney, a senior project manager for an events firm, says she has been using Foursquare for about eight weeks.

She “checks in” to Air New Zealand’s Koru Club lounges, “when I’m out and about in town, when I’m at a meeting in a cafe and on the leisure side of it I check in wherever I happen to be.”

Just like Facebook and Twitter, Foursquare is yet another way of keeping in touch, she says. “It’s an instant communication with people.

“For example, the other day a guy I know from the States was in Auckland. I didn’t happen to be in Auckland at the same time but had it not been for Foursquare I probably wouldn’t have known he was there.

“There’s quite a clever business side to it as well. If I’ve got a client who I know wants to get in touch or a client that happens to be in the same city, you could get a message and know that they’re two cafes down the road. It hasn’t happened yet but it can.”

The application only suits certain places – namely those locations where you want to be seen to be and where you want to meet other users. “I absolutely wouldn’t check in to places like supermarkets or the doctor.”

She says she’s yet to win any Foursquare freebies from places she visits regularly.

“The one that’s sparked my interest more than anything else because I travel a lot is the one Air New Zealand has with the Koru Club.”

The airline’s Foursquare promotion gives “mayors” of selected airports a free pass to the Koru Club lounge, or 100 airpoints dollars if they already belong to the club. The mayors of selected Koru Clubs will also receive 100 airpoints dollars.

Air NZ social media specialist Tom Bates says the promotion has increased the number of Foursquare users checking in at airports and the reaction to Air NZ’s debut on the application has been positive.

Read the rest here.

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Want to assess your blog, website or twitter posts?  The following three websites will help you.

First, test the reading level of your blog or website.  Juicy Studio will provide you with some seemingly meaningless numbers such as those displayed below:

Reading Level Results
Summary Value
Total sentences 596
Total words 5818
Average words per Sentence 9.76
Words with 1 Syllable 3859
Words with 2 Syllables 1107
Words with 3 Syllables 617
Words with 4 or more Syllables 235
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 14.64%
Average Syllables per Word 1.52
Gunning Fog Index 9.76
Flesch Reading Ease 68.03
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 6.19

It explains the numbers below the results.  According to the website, this blog is easy to read (Flesch reading ease) if you have about 6-9 years’ worth of education (Gunning Fog Index and Flesch-Kincaid Grade).  How.. interesting.  There used to be another website which displayed your blog’s reading level in terms of junior high school/university education.  That website seems to have gone by the wayside (the link is now dead).

Perhaps you’d rather make a piece of art out of your blog posts?  Try Wordle.  Here’s the result for diligent room:


It looks rather like a subject cloud but I don’t think it has anything to do with frequency of words in posts.  You can change the look and colours according to your preference.  Fun….

If you’d rather analyse your ‘tweets’ on Twitter, try the psychological analysis of Tweetpsych.  Enter your Twitter username and it will give you a score based on your tweets for things like cognitive processes, occupation and work, positive feelings, as well as “primordial, conceptual and emotional content”.  According to my tweets I had high scores for Time, Sensations, Abstract Thought and Temporal References.  Useful?  Hmm… I guess you have to be a psychologist to appreciate the significance (if any).

I’m sure there are many more such mindless websites with which to pass the time.  Do you know of any that you wish to share?

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I have a confession to make. I have been, and am still something of, a Social media Sceptic. I know a little bit ironic considering the media I am writing in. 😉

As a librarian, I am currently using several social media sites with mixed results, which has failed to convert me from scepticism.

I have a Linkedin profile, where I can keep track of people I worked with, and professional acquaintances. I have a large number of connections, and through this I have spotted one colleagues job change. Yet most of my connections seem to only have one or two other connections. I would have thought with the close and tech savvy nature of our profession I would have been part of a vast network of connections, but few colleagues seem to be using this network. 

I have a Ning profile, where I am on two groups Re-imagining libraries and NZLibraries2.0. Both these networks are similar in their interest and similar in their usage, in fact there is very little traffic on both networks. Again I wonder why as Kiwi information professionals who often engage in community spaces, we don’t seem to be adopting these technologies when the rest of the world is? 😕

I also a Twitter profile which is an official library profile for my organisation Tararua District Libraries. This has been quite successful for me in engaging with other librarians around the country, and with others who are interested in issues that interest me. This is not quite what I had envisioned though, as I was hoping it would be a tool to connect with the digital community based in the Tararua region.  

I have two blogging profiles on WordPress one for this blog, and the other for the blog I run for the Library.  I have been steadily building readership for the library blog, but again I wonder how much is local? There is a real difficulty in finding that out and I have not yet had a success in fostering community engagement. 😀

Personally I don’t use social media. I don’t Facebook or Bebo, I don’t Tweet at home.  I read blogs, but don’t comment except occasionally as “Anonymous”.   My better half and I have recently started to find forums that interest us but are yet to really engage.

CaptureRecently though I had a Social Media success. Through Twitter I have made contact with Tee Morris [http://twitter.com/TeeMonster] and Philippa Balantine [http://twitter.com/PhilippaJane]. Tee is in New Zealand giving a number of seminars on Social Media and I am booked in to attend two in Wellington next week. I have only had contact with them through Twitter. Tee and Pip offered to come to Dannevirke and give a session on podcasting, specifically Podiobooks. For this free session they drove from Wellington to Dannevirke and back on the same day. It was a wonderful example of social media networking. If you miss one of the talks presented by Tee, he was on Radio New Zealand with Chris Laidlaw last Sunday 7th June, which is available on podcast. 💡

Was this a Road to Damascus moment for me? Has the cynicism being cast from me in a blinding light? Well no. While the organisation was a great success, and an example of Social Networking at it’s finest, the turnout still leaves me with doubts. Despite lots of advertising on the blog, and twitter, despite posters and flyers around the library and newspaper advertising, we had for me a disappointing turnout. At our intimate talk we had five listeners, myself, two other librarians, someone from the council and someone who had travelled all the way from Wellington.

So all this has left me with these questions. Why, when as information profession, do we seem to be so slow at taking up Social Media? Is it just us Kiwi librarians? Even though I see myself as part of a growing movement in this area, and my networking at a national level is developing nicely, why can’t I seem to connect at a local level? Is this Social Media only really working in the big cities? Are there not enough digitally active people in the region to connect to? Or are they just virtually somewhere else?   

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Twitter seems to be the latest topic everyone’s talking about. Many people can’t see the point, others are hooked. What’s the deal? What is it? What’s it for?

When I first came across Twitter a couple of years ago, I wondered what the point of it was. It appeared to be for brief updates on what you were doing at the time. I envisaged boring little sentences about eating lunch, listening to music, having a shower – rather like an “away from the keyboard” status on instant messengers. I thought it was some passing (useless) fad and disregarded it.

I recently gave it another try and am now a convert. Instead of viewing Twitter as a medium for viewing people’s answers to the question “what are you doing?”, you can regard it as a micro version of your RSS feeds. Everyone now seems to have a Twitter page and regularly post “tweets”. Online newspapers, your favourite blogger, libraries, librarians, celebrities, politicians, journalists – you name them, they’re probably there. All you need to do is decide who is interesting enough to follow and you’ll discover fascinating tidbits about them, get directed to a link, get up-to-the-minute news, feedback on library conferences or journalist interviews, and find out the latest on all manner of topics. Some educational institutions have even started using it for their students – “Twitter breaks down barriers in the classroom“.

The Guardian newspaper, the technical section of which I follow on Twitter, recently posted a link about Twitter on Twitter, entitled Is Twitter killing RSS feeds? This is a good question. I have a Bloglines account on which I subscribe to various blogs and websites. How often do I visit Bloglines? Almost never, especially since I started using Twitter. Twitter seems easier to use. Perhaps I’m just too lazy to click on each separate link to view the latest blog post or update? The point of RSS feed aggregators such as Bloglines was to be able to view all your favourite websites (at least those that have RSS feeds) in one place. But even then I tended to scroll down my list of bookmarks instead of logging into Bloglines. But now at Twitter I can just scroll down one page and view the latest updates from my favourites in a matter of seconds. Having said that, RSS aggregators still have their uses, especially for updates on saved database searches, for example.

Twitter may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d recommend you give it a try, even if just to see what others are doing with it. A search for libraries or librarians, for example, will result on a large number of ‘Twitterers’. I follow such people as Lawrence Lessig, Stephen Fry, Greenpeace, online newspapers and several librarians from around the world. It can be not only interesting but very useful.

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