My Library’s Twitter feed (@PenfieldLib) just passed 200 followers. Well, 220 actually, but who’s counting? We got a huge bump this week due to a number of factors: students’ procrastination; more students in the library; free coffee; and an unexpected evacuation.
But I’m not here to talk about how to boost your followers. After all, innumerable dodgy Tweeple will give you thousands of (probably not real) followers for a nominal fee. This is about who we’re following, and what is our responsibility towards helping them understand how Twitter and other social media work.
@PenfieldLib has somewhat rigid guidelines about who we follow back. Essentially, it’s students, faculty, alumni, and occasional classes at SUNY Oswego. That’s it. But my goodness do we get an unvarnished view of what our students are up to!
It’s no surprise that they’re drinking (underage) and carousing. That’s what undergrads DO. It’s part of going to college. What is surprising is that they tell us about it. I mean, they got an email at some point that said, “@PenfieldLib is following you.” In fact, it’s highly likely that @SUNYOswego is following them too (they follow everybody). And they must know that when they re-tweet something that their “anonymous” sarcastic friend tweeted, we will see that as well.
I’m guessing not. The Internet is more connected than ever, but it still has the veil of invisibility. Since our students have been online practically since birth, they are used to it. This doesn’t mean that they’re not SHOCKED when a frivolous tweet comes back to bite them. After all, they’ve probably sent out dozens of questionable morsels out into the world and then all of a sudden one comes back. Why this one? Why not this other one that is far worse?
So what should we do? Here we’re starting with a workshop next semester. I’m not too optimistic though. Everyone thinks it’ll never happen to them until they’re about to lose their job over something dumb. I’m more than open to suggestions though.