The Cleveland Public Library Tweet

Posted on December 4, 2010


The Cleveland Public Library maintains a colourful looking website without being too cluttered. Its  icons for social media programs such as YouTube and Flickr are displayed together on the top right hand corner, making it easy to spot. This also shows readers that the library embraces social media and wants to reach out to the community.

It is easy to subscribe to the library’s Twitter feed, but it can be difficult for those not familiar with how Twitter works to tell which entries are fresh tweets from the library and which ones are replies or “retweets.” Of the 19 tweets on their main page as of December 2, only nine tweets are from the library staff, while the other 10 are replies or retweets.

The frequency of Cleveland Public Library tweets is inconsistent. There were no tweets between September 27 and November 15. After mid-November, the library started tweeting again. However, a majority of the tweets after November 15 were retweets and replies. My inclination is to stop subscribing to their tweets, as I find all the different messages from different sources distracting.

An avid blogger about the use of Web 2.0 tools, David Lee King urges libraries to consider their motivations for using Twitter. He asks:

–          What do you want to get out of it?

–          Why are you setting it up?

–          Who is going to maintain that account?

–          Who is going to answer tweets?

–          Who do you plan to connect with?
The Cleveland Public Library uses Twitter to promote community events. While many of the tweets fulfill that mandate, the library might want to establish a more permanent presence with its Twitter feed. The inconsistency is not a good way to promote the library. Without consistent tweeting, followers like me will just unsubscribe.

The Cleveland Public Library is also on Facebook. Unfortunately, the Facebook “wall” is more or less a repeat of the library’s Twitter messages. The library’s website offers a wealth of information, but if nobody is employed to maintain the social media output, perhaps it is better not to use these services at all. It could demote instead of promote the library’s presence if the services are not used well. As Ho Suhui states, “It takes a village to build, staff, and manage an e-library.” For Ho’s report, please click here.