Brand Monitoring: Twitter

For several weeks, I’ve been monitoring Twitter feeds from Madison, Washington D.C., and Skokie public libraries. I chose to watch three tweeting libraries, rather than one, in order to get a broader view of conversations regarding libraries in different parts of the country. Madison Public Library (@madisonlibrary) is using Twitter to advertise programs, events, and additions to the library’s services. It also gives notices of tech problems, such as wifi outages, and keeps users abreast of branch construction progress via links to the library Flickr page. There are only occasional transactions between the librarians and other Twitter users who have reference questions, and the turnover is under 24 hours. I posted a reference question to see what kind of answer Iwould get. The response was as-expected and posted the same day.

This week the DC Public Library (@dcpl) was listed as the 12th most popular library on Twitter. This is surprising as librarians there only tweet every 2-3 days. They are using Twitter for the same reasons as MPL. Some users mention the library in tweets, making comments and suggestions (i.e., nici browsing @dcpl (new site looks good, btw!) for some new comics to read. wish there were more ex machina titles. but walking dead ftw.). another user wrote the following tweet: cransell I wish being a subscriber got you free access to the Washington Post’s archives, at least I have a @DCPL library card!

More impressive is the activity found on the Skokie Public Library (@skokielibrary) page. While the other two libraries were themselves responsible for the vast majority of activity on their Twitter pages, SPL and its users are constantly engaged in conversation, be it reference questions, praise for library services, or library updates regarding services and events. In  the last week, a number of followers posted links to a letter in the Skokie Pioneer written by a grateful Utahn who recently patronized the library. Followers of @skokielibrary will occasionally tweet about recent experiences in the library, sharing comments about what they particularly enjoy about the library (i.e., staff members, accommodations in the library space, collections, etc.).

It’s clear that these lines of communication can benefit the library and its community in many ways, not the least of which are the means of convenient reference and user access to scheduled events. Librarians enjoy, among other perks, a quick, free medium to push events and services while easily monitoring what people are currently saying about the library and its services.


About Steven V. Kaszynski
librarian, editor, contributor

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