CDL Twitter Presentation from HandHeld Librarian 3


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California Digital Library established a Twitter account in the Fall of 2009. This slide show describes our decision to enter this communication channel, the automated tools we use, and the results we are getting.

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  • As background, let me set the stage. By last summer it became clear that Twitter was becoming an important communication channel in some of the communities we serve. So some of our individual service managers were making plans to establish Twitter accounts such as Calisphere and eScholarship. It made sense to think about a central CDL account, to play a kind of coordinating role.
  • We imagined a hub-and-spokes architecture with the CDL account in the middle, following only CDL programs and individuals. This would keep account management simple, but also flexible.
  • But, before jumping in, we needed to clarify our goals.
  • First, we thought this would be a great way to get more readers for our CDLINFO newsletter, which carries news items written by everybody at CDL who has information to share. CDLINFO is already available as an RSS feed. And we though maybe there would be a way to turn that into tweets, which would be great. No one wanted to have to tweet on behalf of CDL.
  • Second, we could amplify the voices of the CDL programs and individuals. What do I mean? Essentially, we thought we could use the CDL brand to point to the programs and services of CDL.
  • And, third, we saw Twitter another way to express our values of openness and sharing. In other words, Twitter gave us another channel for communication.
  • So, how were we going to do this without having to add a lot of work to anybody’s job? That was a big question. We don’t have anyone with the word “Communications” in their job title, let alone “Social Networking.”
  • The answer was automation. We found a tool that would do pretty much everything we wanted. When we first signed up, it was a free service (called Tweetbots). After a few months, they wanted to charge us, so I applied for an in-kind donation of a single license, which they granted.
  • The first part of the tool is a “bot” that turns our newsletter RSS feed into tweets. You just supply the RSS location, and it runs on a continuous basis and creates content as you see. It uses the first 140 characters, minus whatever is needed for a link to the full text of the article on our website.
  • The second tool we use from Tweethopper is a Direct Message ‘bot.’ This is an agent that we authorize for use by any Twitter account the CDL account follows. Here you are looking at Calisphere’s Twitter account. If they tweet something they want to share with CDL’s audience in addition to their own—they can send the tweet to the CDL account as a direct message. Then it appears in CDL’s tweetstream. This is how CDL’s account can amplify the voice of a CDL program.
  • Let’s take a quick look at how things are going so far.
  • I ran a comparison of the email subscribers to CDLINFO against the followers of @CALDIGLIB and found that 98% are new. That is up from 95% 2 months ago. Email: mostly UC Twitter: worldwide
  • Amplification is a little less clear-cut. I’ve looked for an overall measure. Twitalyzer has 2 that seem relevant. One called “Influence” and one called “Clout.” Influence is “measured by the number of times you are retweeted.” “Clout is simply the number of references to you divided by the total number of possible references (as governed by the Twitter search API.) The norms for these are done against large power users, so CDLs numbers are so low they have no utility. I’m still looking for a good measure here and maybe some of you have some ideas.
  • On the visibility question, our followers keep growing every month. In addition, Twitter is continually one of the top referrers to our CDLINFO site. We are making ourselves increasingly more visible.
  • With, I’ll end with an invitation for you to join our followers!
  • CDL Twitter Presentation from HandHeld Librarian 3

    1. 1. California Digital Library on Twitter Joan Starr Manager, Strategic & Project Planning
    2. 2. In the beginning… <ul><li>? </li></ul>
    3. 3. In the beginning…
    4. 4. Why?
    5. 5. Why: Boost circulation
    6. 6. Why: Amplify voices
    7. 7. Why: Increase visibility
    8. 8. How?
    9. 9. How: Automate!
    10. 10. How: RSS “bot”
    11. 11. How: Retweet “bot” Direct Message (DM) Re-Tweet (RT)
    12. 12. Results (so far)
    13. 13. Circulation Results <ul><li>98% of @CalDigLib followers are new readers of CDLINFO </li></ul>
    14. 14. Amplification Results
    15. 15. Visibility Results
    16. 16. Follow us! @CalDigLib
    17. 17. And here is where you’ll find me… <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>@joan_starr </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you! </li></ul>