I don’t know if it is the fact that some of my recent posts have been reflective (perhaps unsurprisingly for end of year blog posts) or perhaps the events of the past few days (check the Voices for the Library website), but the sheer greatness of Twitter has been playing on my mind. This post is probably not going to add anything new to previous posts about Twitter, but I am going to plough on regardless because it really has made some quite fundamental changes to my life.
Last year I came to the conclusion that it was time for an alternative campaign for libraries. Too often library workers had been overlooked as a voice for libraries (no pun intended!), and I felt it was time that an alternative was developed. At the time I only envisaged something very small-scale. A simple blog or wiki that would share resources or comment on events. I was thinking very, very, very, very small-scale. In hindsight, it never would have achieved anything.
Then I discovered, via Twitter, that some fellow library professionals were also thinking the same as me. Within weeks we had launched a website and numerous web 2.0 entities. It was bewildering and impressive and mind-blowing and, most importantly, really satisfying. Never had been involved in something that made me feel so energised (yuck!) and motivated. Here were a bunch of people working together to try to achieve something really fantastic. But the thing that gets me now, looking back, is that without Twitter this would never have happened. That’s not hyperbole. It’s pretty much nailed on fact.
I know there is a lot of talk about Twitter leading to real change. Whether it be in Iran or in the UK, people seem to truly believe that Twitter alone can overturn injustice and heroically right wrongs. Of course, it is not that simple (it never is). That said, it can play a big role in engineering change. In the case of Voices for the Library, it has played a central role in getting a national campaign off the ground and noticed. For without it, I would not have been in contact with any of the people who ultimately established the campaign. It is virtually impossible to imagine this campaign getting organised and launched without Twitter. How else could a bunch of people from across the UK have got together to launch a library campaign? Not only a bunch of people from across the country, but in many cases a bunch of people who had never even met face to face (I still haven’t met any of my fellow members). Every time I think about it I am taken aback by what has been achieved.
I know for many people Twitter has that reputation of inane chatter about what people are having for dinner (and sure we all engage in that crap from time to time to lighten the mood) or something that is impenetrable and impossible to get into. However, the truth is that Twitter can open up so many opportunities. Yes it may not affect change on its own, but it can certainly help. And in terms of Voices for the Library, it has definitely played a major role in its genesis. Without it there would be no campaign. So you see, Twitter isn’t all inane nothings. Now, I’m off to eat some cake…..