Basic Usage Guide for the Sonoma State University Library
Joe J. Marquez
(revised March, 2010)
The Library Twitter account was created to engage the campus and surrounding community. Given
the current fiscal climate in the State of California, the Twitter account was created with the hopes
of "getting the word out" and having the library seen as more than just a place of books. Its main
purpose was to highlight workshops, events, research tools, and alerts in the library. This is an
ongoing experiment with a currently en vogue Web 2.0 tool.
An initial experiment period was agreed upon. When that time is up (two semesters) a discussion
will ensue as to how to proceed with this project or to end it. Regardless of the name, the purpose of
having the library communicate to its users is essential. Twitter currently provides a free
infrastructure with which to communicate in brief and thus it was chosen.
Twitter was chosen because the infrastructure (the ability to post content, the ability for consumers
to link to the RSS feed of the posted content) was in place. A traditional blog could have been used,
but the appeal of Twitter was threefold, 1) the brevity of the message would be a welcomed
challenge in getting information out about the library, 2) Twitter's current wave of popularity will
ensure that it is not a foreign concept, regardless of how many people actually have accounts, 3)
Twitter is free, as are the associated tools we use to capture stats and to tweet, and widely used.
This document was created to provide a basic idea and guidelines on how to tweet for the Sonoma
State University Library.
How to Tweet
140 characters limit
Use Hootsuite. Hootsuite allows us to add URLs and track clicks.
Shrink all URLs with the Hootsuite shrinking tool, this allows us to track clicks on a posted
Put the URL at the end of the tweet
When using the word 'today' or 'tomorrow', follow up with a specific date (i.e. (10/12))
Add title, location, room number (when necessary), time, duration
We will tweet at least once/wk
Create a list of filler tweets in case nothing is happening in the library
RT before retweeting
@ before a username to give credit
DM, direct message, all users following ssulib and tell them, "Thank you for following the
Sonoma State University Library." (this is a courtesy but not a necessity)
Use a hash # before creating a topic
What to Tweet about
When the idea to implement a Twitter feed in the Library was introduced (July, 2009), the original
scope of content to tweet about was limited to library-related material. The scope was broadened
(Spring semester, 2010) to encompass more activities related to the Sonoma State campus. When
possible we would make a link to library materials or related activity being performed by the
New library material
Hours of operation
Sudden changes in database availability
Library-sponsored events (i.e. lectures, presentations)
Finals and mid-term schedules
freely available reference or research tools that may have a general audience appeal based
on interest and usefulness
Campus events (i.e. lecture series, Sonoma Film Institute schedule)
Tweeting, Classification System & Statistics
Using Twitter in the Library is an ongoing experiment. It is a method to communicate with the
campus, library users, as well as the surrounding community. No benchmarks were established to
determine success, but we did employ tools that would help with the collection of statistics as well
as creating a classification system by which we could measure overall interest in this new tool.
Hootsuite (http://www.hootsuite.com) is a free, web-based application that allows you to
manage a twitter account. Hootsuite allows you to schedule tweets, shrink URLs for
statistics tracking, and manage followers.
Once a month we download tweets and save to a spreadsheet using Tweetake
(http://www.tweetake.com) . This is a free service that allows you to download tweets sent.
Hootsuite allows us to keep statistics on all clicks on links in tweets. If no link exists, we won’t be
able to track usage. To further analyze what is of interest to people following us or reading our feed
online, a classification scheme was devised in order to group tweets.
Resources (R) –resources, websites, specific items, movies or databases, new library materials,
non-library related search engines or articles
About (A) - changes in library hours, database availability, finals and mid-term schedules,
Workshops (W) - Library workshops
Events (E) - Gallery events, campus lectures, convocation, graduation
Misc.(M) – miscellaneous, announcements about non-library changes, anything random
Below is a collection of Twitter-related tools
Creating polls, http://twtpoll.com/
Twitter for Librarians http://oedb.org/blogs/ilibrarian/2007/a-guide-to-twitter-in-
Follow the Trends http://www.whatthetrend.com/
140 characters or less http://140it.com/
Twitter class @ UW http://twitter09.wordpress.com/