It’s a little hard sometimes to explain how Twitter and blogging can be used together, to compliment each other. I experienced a nice little example of this recently, as part of a discussion I’ve been involved in.

The specifics of the subject being discussed in the tweets at left are a bit obscure to anyone outside the medical library community (clarification below) — So, disregarding the subject, the point I’m making is simply that the wording I used in the first tweet served as the basis for the title of a blog article by another medical librarian in the discussion, Alisha  Miles (@alisha764), in the bottom tweet.

More specifically, in my tweet, about the announcement of the new NLM PubMed Health site, I comment “PubMed Health finally has a Face!” Alisha then responds with a blog article whose title, that’s in her tweet, builds nicely from my tweet — PubMed Health has a face but does it have a place?

For more on the specific issues involved in the PubMed Health discussion, so my earlier articles.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

The tweet shown here, by Dr. Ves Dimov (@DrVes), is interesting on different levels. The tweet is about Huffington Post, but it gives good advice on how to write a blog article in general — Find a juicy nugget in a news or blog article that’s unnoticed by most readers and feature it in your own article, quoting it prominently and adding your own spin to it.

But beyond its application to writing blog articles, Dimov’s tweet applies at least as much to writing tweets. Even more than a blog article, a tweet needs to strip a subject to its essence, and put it into a 140 character message that combines the arts of narrative writing and headline writing.

A twist of Meta …

Another layer of interestingness here is that Dimov’s tweet itself applies exactly the stripping to the essence technique that’s featured in the tweet  — The words in the tweet are taken from far down in a NY Times story, where few human eyeballs (or the GoogleBot) are likely to see them, and brought to the attention of the Twitterverse and Google by @DrVes — Here’s the NY Times quote, with words in the tweet in boldface:

Huffington Post is a master of finding stories across the Web, stripping them to their essence and placing well-created headlines on them that rise to the top of search engine results, guaranteeing a strong audience.

A great example of combining the simple elegance of Twitter and the power of human judgment to search out an interesting nugget in a long page of text, and bring it to the attention of the Web’s eyes. With Google’s spam troubles recently, there’s been much discussion of the renewed importance of human curation, with Twitter being seen as a prime vehicle, and I think this is a nice example of that.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

I found these links looking at home pages of AAHSL libraries on the list of Medical & Health Sciences Libraries. I’m sure I missed some, so if you know of any, put in a comment, a tweet, or send on email (address at bottom of page). All of the libraries on Twitter below are in the AAHSL Twitter list/feed I made — Take a look to see what all these folks are tweeting about!

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Ray Beckerman’s long article has good advice about avoiding Twitter’s “Retweet” button that accompanies every tweet, and instead using what he calls the “traditional retweet,” done manually with cut-and-paste. Up until a year ago, when Twitter introduced its own version of retweet, this was the only way to retweet. From the time this came out it’s gotten many strong negative reactions. Beckerman states the case so eloquently that I’m excerpting his words here, starting with words from the conclusion, which are likely missed by a lot of readers (boldface added):

Conclusion – If you want to be invisible, then by all means use the pseudo-retweet. If not, then this is my advice:

  • Don’t use Twitter’s so called retweet function…. ever.
  • Use genuine, traditional retweets only.

Beckerman explains how to do a traditional retweet, and also has a detailed list of 13 reasons why the traditional retweet is superior to the Twitter-version retweet, worth a detailed reading. Along the way, he has interesting commentary about the odd stance of Twitter on retweeting:

Ironically, the most important feature on Twitter is one that Twitter itself did not develop, and has never adopted: the traditional retweet. It was developed by the customers, on their own, and not by the company. And amazingly, to this date Twitter itself has never incorporated it, although doing so would be as easy as pie.

Twitter’s management doesn’t get it. They try to justify their pseudo-retweet on the theory that a retweet is for the purpose of repeating, or rubber stamping, and thus paying homage to, some genius’s isolated statement spoken in a vacuum, to a vacuum, to be broadcast into an abyss. … Twitter’s competitive edge is the traditional retweet. By abandoning that, it is relinquishing its competitive advantage.

My advice to all Twitter users is that you should not use what Twitter calls a “retweet”. It is a counterfeit, and does not have any of the key properties of a retweet. Just skip it. The true, traditional “retweet” is the life blood of Twitter, and what has set it apart from other similar “microblogging” services.

I especially appreciate Beckerman’s stress on the value of Twitter as a conversational medium, with the traditional retweet as an integral part of the process. As he says, the Twitter-version retweet loses this valuable aspect, as tweets are treated as anonymous bits of information, not connected to a known person in the user’s chosen Tweet-stream.

Ray Beckerman is at: @RayBeckerman

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

With Google Books being in the news in the last few weeks, I’ve been paying more attention than I have since the Settlement discussion wound down several months ago — In Twitter I’m noticing a large increase in the number of tweets about GBS, especially the number of links to specific book titles in it. Admittedly this is a purely subjective impression, but several months ago I don’t remember this happening frequently. So on Nov 9 I did a small survey of links (below) to GBS that I’ve found, searching in Twitter for google books. This includes a variety of links from the last day, concentrating on tweets whose authors seem to be modest individual tweeters, not “dotcom presences.” I’ve numbered the tweets so that I can refer to them in discussion below.

  1. uflsms: The web reputation systems book (readings) is also at Google Books: http://bit.ly/9HLyPn Not all pages are there, but most are.
    about 2 hours ago via TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet
  2. berta1974: RT @gasolinero: «La Dificultad De ser Japonés» en Google books con una vista previa de 1/5 del libro http://bit.ly/94C3pW
    about 4 hours ago via TweetDeck · Reply · View Tweet
  3. maramirou: Mabrouk! RT:@zizoo My book is finally on google books :-) -L’hopital Razi de la Manouba et son histoire – Google Books: http://goo.gl/kQFKH
    about 5 hours ago via TnLabs · Reply · View Tweet
  4. dayski: The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius … – Google Books http://t.co/a9YdgtK via @ shr.lc – I like the get this book option on sidebar!
    about 8 hours ago via Tweet Button · Reply · View Tweet
  5. darthconnell: The Origin of Species is available in its entirety from Google Books http://t.co/bmpZFBY
    about 14 hours ago via Tweet Button · Reply · View Tweet
  6. stewartsm: The collected writings of Michael Snow – Google Books: Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 1994 http://bit.ly/bwSYVa
    about 15 hours ago via twitterfeed · Reply · View Tweet
  7. atomicpoet: The ABCs of Strategic Life Planning – Google Books http://ow.ly/19ROLn
    about 23 hours ago via HootSuite · Reply · View Tweet

A few observations — of the 7 books linked, 6 of them are recent, copyrighted titles, with #5 being the only public domain library-scanned book. Of the copyrighted books, all have a preview except #3. Interestingly, and consistent with earlier observations, a significant number of these books are in non-English languages (#2, #3).

I’m presenting this little sample not so much to draw specific conclusions about the nature of tweets on GBS, but simply to draw attention to my clear observation that people ARE tweeting links to GBS books more than they were 6-12 months ago. This certainly indicates an increase in awareness of GBS, and goes along with my general impression, especially from statistics provided by Google, that it’s getting heavier use than most commentators, especially anti-GBS ones, are acknowledging.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

** Post-conference: Links to Presentations & Follow-up **

The Books in Browsers conference is in San Francisco, Oct 21-22, at the offices of the Internet Archive. Here’s a list of attenders on Twitter, which is about 2/3 of all attenders. In some cases it was difficult to tell if a corporate Twitter name was the best to use for an individual. I have not put people who are on Twitter but have their tweets protected — If you’re one of those and you want to be on the list, let me know.

Thanks to BLAINE Cook – A Twitter List that gives a live tweet feed of all attenders below.

Twitter name Name

Affiliation
bookgluttonNEWS Alber Travis BookGlutton
indiamos Amos India ITP, NYU
mangbot Ang Michael Internet Archive
glassdog Arthur Lance Internet Archive
kindleworld Basten Andrys Kindle Blog
mattBernius Bernius Matthew RIT
edwardbetts Betts Edward Internet Archive
kirkbiglione Biglione Kirk Oxford Media Works
nathanbransford Bransford Nathan Curtis Brown Agency
naypinya Brantley Peter Internet Archive
patrickrbrown Brown Patrick Goodreads
jambina Buckland Amy McGill University
otown Chandler Otis Goodreads
BLAINE Cook Blaine Romeda
VidLit Dubelman Liz VidLit
abdelazer Fahlgren Keith Ibis Reader
FRANCOMEDIA Franco Kevin Francomedia
snowmaker Friedman Jared Scribd
JRandomF Fruchterman Jim Benetech
Hadrien Gardeur Hadrien Feedbooks
rochellegrayson Grayson Rochelle BookRiff
epistemographer Greenberg Josh Sloan Foundation
m_gylling Gylling Markus IDPF / DAISY
usfsrlib Hewlett Jean USF Gleeson Library
jhorodyski Horodyski John Wrinkled Pants
JenHoward Howard Jennifer Chronicle Higher Ed
shadowsun7 James Eli Novelr
jaquith Jaquith Waldo Univ. of Virginia
UDCMRK Kalfatovic Martin BioDiversity Heritage Library
bookmasters Kasher Bob Bookmasters
billkendrick Kendrick Bill Smashwords
selfpubbootcamp King Carla PBS MediaShift
metasj Klein SJ OLPC
booksquare Krozser Kassia Booksquare
curiouslee Lee Mike OLPC / AARP
jacoblewism Lewis Jacob Figment Fiction
jessielorenz Lorenz Jessie Independent Living SF
ivorymadison Madison Ivory Red Room
armco Malkin Andrew Overbrook Consulting
kevinmarks Marks Kevin Independent
ronmartinez Martinez Ron Invention Arts
hughmcguire McGuire Hugh BookOven
emckean McKean Erin Wordnik
abrahammertens Mertens Abraham Red Room
KatMeyer Meyer Kat O’Reilly Media
bookglutton Miller Aaron BookGlutton
calliemiller Miller Callie LitLife
craigmod Mod Craig Pre/Post Books
tiny_librarian Morin Becky California Acad Sci
m_murrell Murrell Mary UC Berkeley
R_Nash Nash Richard Cursor Books
allennoren Noren Allen O’Reilly Media
brianoleary O’Leary Brian Magellan Partners
josephpearson Pearson Joseph Monocle
pilsks Pilsk Suzanne Smithsonian Inst Libraries
poezn Porath Michael UC Berkeley I-School
draccah Raccah Dominique Sourcebooks
Ebooq Reed Cartwright ebooq
sol613 Rosenberg Sol Copia
ericrumsey Rumsey Eric Univ of Iowa
jason_schultz_ Schultz Jason UC Berkeley
letiziasechi Sechi Letizia Bookrepublic
ifbook Stein Bob If Book
mtamblyn Tamblyn Michael Kobo Books
pthompson Thompson Patrick Inkstone Software
ftoolan Toolan Fran Firebrand Tech
minh_truong Truong Minh Aldiko
aweber9 Weber Andrew Random House
dwilk Wilk David Creative Mgmt Partners
adamwitwer Witwer Adam O’Reilly Media
tiffanycmw Wong Tiffany Aldiko

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Since Google announced in April that they would be archiving Twitter tweets, they’ve been rolling it out in phases, first making it accessible only in the additional tools menu in the left sidebar (as Updates), and then in August making it available separately as Realtime Search. I’ve been finding it quite useful, and here’s a little example:

As I often do when a new person retweets me, I was recently looking over the tweets of @sarahebourne, to see what she’s tweeted on that looks interesting, that I might retweet and repay the favor. I do this by combining the person’s Twitter name with different subjects of interest. With Twitter search going back only 4 days, it doesn’t work well for this, so lately I’ve been using Google Realtime search — Here’s the search I did: sarahebourne ebooks – I found one particularly interesting tweet from two weeks ago linking to an August 5 Library Journal article on eBooks and accessibility. I found that several people liked  the article enough to retweet it, and figuring it might be of interest to my followers, I tweeted it, and sure enough, it got several retweets.

So, a little example of a useful tool — With the limited back-searching available in Twitter search, it’s been frustrating that good tweets and good discussions have disappeared very quickly — If a tweet didn’t get retweeted in four days, it was seemingly gone forever. So now tweets are given a new life. Conversations that happened a while back — like during summer, when many people were otherwise occupied — can be brought back to life, like the little conversation above.

Google Realtime Search is still  a work-in-progress! – It’s a great improvement on Twitter’s four-day search, but be aware that it doesn’t find ALL old tweets. From my short experience, it seems to give emphasis to tweets that have  been retweeted.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

Twitter is notorious for having a short attention span – Trending topics tend to last for just a few days — The iPad has been a remarkable exception to this — Since it was introduced in April, its popularity on Twitter just seems to continue on and on. I experience this clearly myself because my tweets on the iPad are invariably the most popular ones.

With so much being written on the iPad, I often search in Twitter by combining “iPad” with another word — libraries, librarians, schools, learning, healthcare, medical etc. I’ve been surprised that combining iPad with library-related words consistently retrieves very little. So I did a little survey, counting the number of tweets retrieved in Twitter searches for some of these words, as shown in the graph at left (details on method below).

I don’t want to read too much into this quick-and-dirty little survey — Maybe it’s just a matter of time before the iPad surge filters down to libraries. But I still have to wonder … The apparent lack of interest in the iPad in the library world is especially surprising in view of the search figures in the chart for books, magazines, newspapers, and ebooks – the content of libraries.

As I was writing this post, I happened upon Brian Kenney’s article encouraging libraries to join the party and get into the “eBook game” like their patrons are quickly doing. The advice about libraries and eBooks in his catchy title fits the iPad also: You have to be in it to win it! – With the iPad having quickly established itself as the most popular device for reading digital books and magazines, and with its booming sales predicted to hit 28 million in 2011, isn’t it time for librarians to join the iPad party?

Methods — The numbers in the chart are the average of two searches done on Thurs, Aug 19 and Fri, Sept 3, each of the searches going back four days. I counted the number of pages for each search and multiplied by 10, assuming 10 tweets per page. For library related words, how about “library”? — I didn’t include it because of the varying contexts of the word — in particular iTunes library and iPod library — which are unrelated to libraries that are run by librarians. I did do a close examination of the 172 hits for library (on Sept 8th) and found that about 22 seemed to have some connection to the desired context, which would have raised the numbers in the chart a bit, but not enough to change the overall impression that the iPad is not mentioned much in connection with libraries. So I’ve chosen to stick with simple unambiguous words, especially so that the test can be easily repeated over time.

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

In July, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone declared, to much media splash, that Twitter is the world’s fastest growing search engine.

In May, I started noticing that Twitter search, that formerly extended back 10 days, was only going back 4-5 days. What gives, Biz? If it’s growing so fast, why cut back the time of searches?

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey

A little example of how collective intelligence helps to build a better Twittersphere – My original tweet (on the bottom below) is in response to an article that was getting a lot of Tweets on the Six Degrees of Separation and Twitter. I wondered how this compares with Facebook, and found in Wikipedia that Twitter is said to have fewer degrees of separation than Facebook, which is shown by the numbers in the tweet. My tweet said: “Twitter a Close-Knit Network …” — @sanjeevn improved this to show the closer connections in Twitter by smartly adding the letter r”: “Twitter a Closer-Knit Network …” – So, thanks, @sanjeevn, for improving my tweet — Keeping the ball rolling, and passing it on … to @Pjoseph85

Eric Rumsey is at: eric-rumsey AttSign uiowa dott edu and on Twitter @ericrumsey