Twitter and Google Reader
I set up a Google Reader account a few years ago but could not find the time to keep up with it. I seemed to get a gazillion new things to read a day. Maybe I subscribed to too many things or did not organise them properly….I know, I know, poor show for a librarian. I also found twitter and I abandoned Google Reader as most of the people or organisations who I am interested in I follow on Twitter and they post their blogs etc there and retweet other things I would not have come across myself. It is a bit of a serendipitous way of doing things but it does mean I come across information I would not in a carefully selected RSS feed and it does lead to more discussion and interaction I think, which I like.
The dangers of using this approach for current awareness is that I probably miss stuff if I am away from twitter for a time. Google Reader would ensure this does not happen. (just logged on to Google Reader for the first time in months and there are 1000+ unread items. Information overload!! HALP!!) *
Hmmm, what accounts do I find most useful for current awareness? Well there are LOADS and I cannot mention them all here but below are a few I find particularly useful.
I am an academic librarian and so I find @universityboy, who blogs and tweets about all aspects of the higher education sector, and @timeshighered for higher education news, really interesting. It is important for me to keep up-to-date with what is happening nationally in the sector as it will impact on the student experience and we need to respond to this to make sure we are supporting students as best we can.
I have been supporting education studies students for the last few years so I also have been following accounts like @UkEdChat which hosts a regular online discussion group for educators and the now sadly finished @teacherstv , so that I can let our students know of any new interesting and useful resources available.
I also follow a whole host of academic librarians. Whilst writing this it has occurred to me that I do not follow many academic librarians based outside of the UK. I must widen my horizons and fix this. Any suggestions?
For public library news @walkyouhome has to be one of the best tweeters for current awareness, and that is not just because she is my friend and we are in a campaign group together (however we are still yet to meet. This will be rectified on Saturday!) but because she always seems to come across news first. I have assigned her twitter ID with a colour in my twitter client to highlight her in my feed so I don’t miss what she has to say.
@UKPling , the twitter account for campaign and advocacy group Voices for the Library is really useful too (not just because I am in it! I do not manage the Twitter account), but because it picks up such a breadth of news and information about public library services across the country. Local campaigning blogs feed into the updates too. I could never keep up with it all myself (Voices for the Library facebook group is useful for this). As a library campaigner I have found this really useful. @ijclark and @ggnewed (apologies to anyone else I missed) do a great job of maintaining it.
For an often humorous insight into public libraries in the USA I follow @screwydecimal whose observations are a refreshing contribution to my twitter feed and often makes me laugh out loud.
Oh dear, I appear to have started a post I will never finish if I start writing about all the interesting people I follow so I am going to stop writing about twitter now. The fact is I follow loads of fascinating, knowledgeable, generous and witty people and I often find things out far faster than most of my friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter.
I like it. I am not sure I will use is as I tend to use Delicious to do similar things. What I do not like about PushNote is that you cannot categorise the bookmarks (unless I am missing something) like you can on Delicious, so if you PushNote a lot of things it could get a bit confusing . What I do like about it is that if you have “browser extension” installed you can save anything immediately to your Pushnote account without any logging in or a “share it” tab. Now I have it installed time will tell how useful it is. It is nice to know about it though.
I have received 72 items in my RSS feed since I started writing this blog post. I think I need a clear out…..it intimidates me.
*Since I typed the panicked “HALP” above, I have scanned through the unread stuff in my Google Reader and there is not much in there I have not already seen elsewhere (twitter mostly).