Twitter…and why shock and awe works.

Gerard McKiernan linked to a really great article about the top 100 uses for Twitter in libraries and museums.  It’s a good article – check it out on his blog:
http://mobile-libraries.blogspot.com/2009/09/100-ways-to-use-twitter-in-your-library.html

I think one of the best things I’ve read recently came from @womenwhotech who mentioned in 140 characters that companies and organizations can’t just use Twitter to talk about themselves, but also to interact.  Be sure to interact with those you follow and those who follow you.  Retweets and Replies don’t exist for no reason, folks!

In other news, I’m noticing that libraries who use shock and awe to highlight that they are in deep trouble really seem to be on the right track.  I’m not a fan of sensationalism, but let’s face it, if you present the worst case scenario to the public, they’ll respond. 

I’m not sure if you saw the postings on the Free Library of Philadelphia’s website a couple of weeks ago, but the summary essentially was that if the state didn’t get their act together related to budgeting, the library – all branches plus the main library – would have to close.  They even told patrons to start turning their books in.

I don’t want to say that the notice was a flat out scare tactic – let’s call it excellent presentation of the worst case scenario – but it certainly got to the core of the issue in the most basic of terms.  They stated very clearly WHAT the issue was, WHO should be contacted encourage  correction of the issue, WHAT could be done to fix it and WHAT patrons would have to do to help them close shop (yikes!), WHERE they would feel the pain (no more programs, no more books,  no more library, period.) and WHEN they would no longer be able to access their library.

As libraries face financial crisis, it’s important to remember that you can’t blubber and ramble.  Don’t tell the public how it will affect the library – tell the public how it will affect THEM.  Saying “Our book budget will be reduced” means nothing.  But if you say “We will not be able to purchase as many new books and we will not be able to buy books that you recommend and love.  Your kids won’t be able to check out educational DVDs for as long because we won’t have as many to share.”  As a good friend of mine, who is a radio host, says – Stay.  On.  Topic. 

Luckily, the Free Library of Philadelphia made it and has posted this thank you letter to the public:
http://libwww.freelibrary.org/donate/thankyou.cfm

What I like best is the section that talks about how patrons can keep helping the library.  Good stuff.

Have a happy weekend, sexy people.

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