I am all over this week's lesson. I've been a Twit.....uh, Tweeter?....Twitterer, maybe?....whatever - I've had a Twitter account for quite a while. Microblogging is exactly what it sounds like, blogging on a smaller scale - 140 characters per entry or "tweet", to be exact.
There are many uses for microblogging. I have to be honest and say that my favorite use is entertainment. When I was a pre-teen/teenager there were ads in the back of teen magazines where you could send away for the name of a pen-pal. I loved having pen-pals, especially those from other countries - sending and receiveing letters, learning about their life and their culture. Twitter allows me to have cyber-penpals. I "follow" and am "followed" by (which just means we can view each others' tweets) an up-and-coming fashion designer in New York, a YA book author in England, a radio d.j. who's only an hour away, and the publisher of the premier K-State sports magazine, among others - all people I would not communicate with otherwise.
Twitter is also useful for making contact with fellow librarians and book-related types. I follow a variety of publishers, authors, book stores and book bloggers who send out information on and reviews of soon-to-be-released books, which helps with collection development. I also follow librarians from across the nation and share ideas, tips, and web sites pertaining to the library world.
The third category of my Twitter use is celebrity "cyber-stalking" (Dave's term). I follow them, but due to their huge number of followers, they do not follow me - so basically I receive mini-messages from them, but I can not respond. For the most part I find celebrities pointless and annoying, and many are actually just self-promotion tweets sent out by an assistant, so I don't follow many. However, there are a few - like country singer Blake Shelton - who are just hilarious and I can always use another laugh in my day.
Microblogging is a handy tool for communicating in small doses but, like many networking tools, it can also be addicting and time-consuming. It's all a matter of balance.