We are what we tweet: developing a digital identity in 140 characters or less; a journey from silent spectator to confident tweeter

Gillian Dawson @uwslib – The Library of the University of the West of Scotland

UWS Library redeveloped Twitter as its main social media focus around two years ago. As a geographically diverse, multi-campus/ shared-campus Library there were many challenges in creating a Twitter team to administer a single account. Some of us were Twitter novices, others reluctant to tweet or sceptical of the benefits of social media within a university library.

My journey within the @uwslib team has been from someone using Twitter as a passive news feed to a confident, capable tweeter, actively participating in conversations, sharing news and information, links, images and video. Illustrating with examples from the @uwslib account I aim to show the process through which we at UWS Library developed an online identity and how members of the team grew in digital confidence and capability through this process.

Twitter is a tool for learning, communication, building relationships and communities. It creates opportunities to connect with other people and organisations. Finding and developing a consistent voice is vital in developing an online identity. Twitter isn’t just about pumping out information, it’s about being responsive, interacting and engaging with your followers, letting them see who you are and what you have to offer, and building community spirit. I will show how @uwslib has built a community of students and staff who feel they are invested in our library and has forged connections with other departments and other university libraries.

Twitter has many surprising advantages: honing enquiry and communication skills, providing a creative outlet for staff, enabling personal development and lifelong learning, keeping up with new technologies.

I will show how simple strategies can take the strain out of knowing what to tweet and when and also I will illustrate some of our more innovative practices to inspire others to try something new and have fun while still getting their message across