Communication, not just information

http://xkcd.com/1239/ CC BY 2.5 licence

Comic from http://xkcd.com/1239/ under a CC BY 2.5 licence

How we communicate with everyone who uses the Library (staff, researchers, students and members of the public) is key to everything we do.

In the Old Days you would have been able to come into the Library to ask questions, make a phone call or write us a letter. Nowadays you can still do all of those things, but also use our web chat service, email us, fill in a paper or online feedback form, contact us via Twitter or Facebook …or even post a comment on this blog.

Why is it so important for us to be able to communicate with you?

  • We want to tell you things that will be useful to you, for example our opening hours, details of our resources and how to access and use them, where in the Library you can find the book you need and how to contact us.
  • We want you to be able to ask us any questions you have, or provide feedback, in a way that works for you.

Part of my role in the Library is to contribute to the @UniSotonLibrary Twitter feed, both posting tweets and responding to your comments.

Twitter seems to polarise people in the same way that Marmite does. If I mention Twitter in conversation I am likely to either receive a baffled ‘I don’t get it’ in reply, or the person I’m speaking to will surreptitiously pull out their phone and click on that friendly little bird icon.

I used to belong to the ‘I don’t get it camp’ – I had a Twitter account but I barely looked at it and managed to resist telling the world (in 140 characters) what I’d eaten each day and posting cute cat pictures.  I had a feeling that I was missing something though, so when the University of Southampton Library ran a course encouraging staff to engage with online technologies I was determined to give Twitter a fair try.

My Eureka moment came when I realised the value of Twitter for me as an individual is gaining information, rather than posting it. Twitter is great for keeping up with local news, breaking news, travel information and delays, and finding current information in my field of interest which in Library terms is the move to Open Access publishing.

With my @UniSotonLibrary hat on I love the immediacy of Twitter: we can let you know of any service disruptions (and when they’ll be fixed) as they happen, tell you about new resources, post links to useful information on our webpages and answer your questions without delay.

Twitter can be overwhelming – you need to choose wisely who you follow. As well as following people and organisations I use the search box in the same way I would search Google if I wanted a range of information on a topic; it is amazing how many well informed people are out there, thoughtfully tweeting helpful news and links that are completely up to date. Searching by hashtag can also be very useful, especially if you want to follow what is going on at a specific conference, for example. And you can always find cat pictures, because sometimes that’s all you want from the internet!

Do you use Twitter? Follow us @UniSotonLibrary

We are also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UniSotonLibrary

Cat with book 2320356657

Gratuitous cat picture!

by Nicki Clarkson

 

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