While walking our the door to get coffee across the street, I overheard two students saying, “OMG it’s so hot in the library, let’s go study some place else.”
We have had unseasonably warm temperatures for a few days (65 degrees today), and the heat in the building is still on, leading to an uncomfortable environment in which to study. Simply reporting that to the appropriate channels to change things sometimes isn’t enough, but perhaps showing them the complaints via Twitter is.
It’s very easy to set up a search for your organization in TweetDeck to find out what your customers, patrons, and community are saying about your services, facilities, and resources. Getting others to listen to what they are saying might prove to be a bit more difficult.
The past two days I received two very nice compliments via social media. Both of them made me feel especially valued and appreciated, even if the kind words came from people I have never met in person. I’m posting them here for those days where things aren’t quite so rosy.
The first comment came out of the blue from another librarian on Twitter. This really made my day, especially given that I am submitting a few proposals to speak again at the Computers in Libraries conference next spring.
The second comment came this morning from a random person on flickr. I can only assume that he found my pictures via one of the flickr groups that I’ve been posting to lately. I’ve become really interested in photography over the past year, and have been working to get better. It’s always nice when someone “favorites” or “likes” your pictures, but this fellow went out of his way to give me a very kind remark.
It really doesn’t take much to make somebody’s day better. Simply giving someone a compliment can be a huge boost to their confidence and can make them happier. I appreciate these two folks giving me a shout out, and now I’m very encouraged to pay it forward.
So I was teaching a class this morning at another building on campus. Unfortunately the provided computer I was using was having network issues.Â While we waited on the IT guys for the building to come in, I took the following picture with my phone and sent it to twitpic, which then sent the tweet to twitter.
Here’s what I posted on twitter with my phone:
Within 1 minute of sending that text to TwitPic, I got a text message from one of our system administrators at the library.Â He asked me what room I was in, and if I needed help.Â I replied that I was outside his territory, as I was in another campus building, not the library.Â Although he could not help me, it was amazing that he could respond so quickly.
There are a few things here that made this work.Â First, we have IT folks who get it.Â Seriously, our library IT department is top notch in a lot of ways.Â They’re willing to try new things such as twitter,Â if only simply to see how they work and how they might be used.Â Secondly, my colleague happened to be following me on twitter, and I also follow him.Â If he had not been following me, he would not have seen the text at all.Â Third, he happened to refresh the twitter page, and there I was.Â Finally, he knew my cell number, so he was able to send me a text message.Â He could have also sent me a direct message in twitter, but he had no way of knowing that I get direct messages via text messages on my phone, so a text message was the guaranteed way of asking me if I needed help.
While there are definitely some hoops to jump through, I can definitely see how an organization could use this for technical support or other kinds of immediate assistance.Â (This also assumes we don’t see the twitter fail whale).Â All of my colleagues in my department are on twitter, although some use it a lot more frequently (@cguder, @lolebek, @hagman) than others.Â With the ability to extend twitter with pictures via TwitPic, with video via 12Seconds, and with SMS, twitter has the potential for being a very robust communication tool.