First, watch the full 58 minutes of this Stax Volt Revue from 1967. Then read this post.
Today I stumbled across this blog post from Inky Reviews about building her own community on Twitter while getting her MLIS online. She used it to build her community and engage with the profession in lieu of face to face relationships over sugar cookies in a physical class.
I covered this topic a 5 years ago, but I think it’s a good time to revisit since things are always changing and I’m definitely not the librarian I was back then. Well… not entirely.
Knowing people in online and “meating” them is pretty standard now. It’s not like it was back in 2006 when I flew to the UK to stay with a friend I met on a weird message board. We lied when I met his friends and sister that we had a mutual friend who I met on study abroad. The stigma’s largely gone. My conference roommates are my colleagues from Twitter. In fact, I’ve used Twitter a lot to work on stuff for SLA. It’s really helped me keep on top of what’s going on across the association (and with other library associations), and helped me forge partnerships (and friendships) that probably wouldn’t have happened any other way.
It’s also really helped me find a cohort within transportation. It’s still weird to think about how when I joined Twitter, it was nothing but a bunch of librarians. Now there’s a huge and vibrant transportation community on there, and it’s made going to transportation conferences way more fun and engaging. For one, it’s helped me meet people beyond the libraries and beyond my local group, so I get different perspectives. For another, more people to get coffee with. Oh how much that matters.
So yeah, I built a cohort for myself on the internet that serves me well off it. I encourage everybody to try it, or at least be open to it. The thing I sometimes worry about is that it’s not for everybody. I can extol the virtues of live Tweeting conferences, using it for random polls, and helping people out, but I also know a lot of people just won’t take to it. That’s fine. Yeah, they’re missing out but I also know there are lots of other venues of networking out there, and I’m definitely missing out – fancy dinners, whatsapp, tumblr, whatever the kids do these days.
But to you, my Twitter friends, thanks for keeping me sane and connected. I’ll pay you back with puns and music videos.