Monday, 7 February 2011

Thoughts on Dave White's Visitors and Residents using Twitter and Facebook


Dave White in his 'Visitors & Residents' video describes Twitter as a resident platform, and as such, it is necessary to really use and interact within it to fully get it and benefit from it, as also expressed in Andy Powell's blog 'Twitter for Idiots' which he refers to. (Interesting to read Powell's view regarding the CILIP 'Twitter for Librarians' course! - yes, you do need to use it to understand it in the same way you need to drive a car to understand how to drive a car, but it is sometimes helpful for people to completely focus by setting a specific date and time - if you have spent the money on a training course and travel - you will devote time and energy to doing it.)

Visitors on Twitter can easily search on a particular topic, review the tweets and then go off again, having wasted little time; they are goal-orientated and it is quick and easy to use. They will have left no footprint, will not have exposed their interest, and will not have had to wade through the banalities to get to what they want to know. However the experience will be rather like using a search engine, there is no interaction going on, so they will miss out on any future comments, any developing stories, any retweets or continuing discussion. As they see Twitter as no more than a tool for a particular task, they will not be contributing or discussing, nor be part of a community, nor enriching their digital identity. Others who share their interests will not recognise them or value them in any way.
Residents, however, will reap the benefits of high visibility. They are more likely to be contacted with interesting ideas and suggestions, to be followed by relevant people who they in turn can follow, they can deal with negative comments quickly and immediately, respond to queries, give feedback. On the other hand, in order to maintain their 'brand' or identity, they do have to 'keep feeding that machine', keep updating. Not only is this time consuming, but when they run out of anything of substance to say, their comments can become banal.

In some ways Facebook can be easier than Twitter for visitors - they can see what others are doing and saying, where they are, what interests they have, look at photos, without having to contribute, (although generally will need to get as far as adding and being accepted by friends to see this information). The drawbacks are that as non-contributing, they are unlikely to be approached with messages or updates relevant to them - by not giving they get nothing back.
For residents, it is easy to maintain visibility in a number of ways, updating status, uploading photos, commenting on others updates, joining new groups, and finding new friends. All this is good for networking, locating business needs, promotion and marketing. The drawbacks include the erosion of privacy the more that is given, the time-consuming nature of updating, and the exposure to irrelevant or unwanted attention.


  1. Sharon agree that "Residents, however, will reap the benefits of high visibility.".

    I think a genuine passion and interest or an obvious purpose (which could well include work related tasks) helps in the dissemination of useful and interesting information and helps overcome the drudgery of having to post.

    My own view is that facebook is much more naturally residential, but as you point out it feels you are giving more of yourself away on facebook. Whether this matters will depend on each individual and how they use facebook.

    I think for busy dynamic organisations offline they will have plenty of interesting information to disseminate online and being resident will help in maximizing their visibility. I think a clear strategy is important.

  2. Think there is a different mindset in using Facebook as social network for friends/family and Facebook as social network for organisation/business/education - in what you are being careful about giving away, or how you are representing yourself. Hoping to find out more about keeping (?) control as module develops.