All posts by Heather Braum

About Heather Braum

Technology Librarian at NEKLS.

Week Seven: Microblogging

Welcome to Week Seven of 23 Things Kansas! Time sure is flying by. If you find yourself behind in the lessons don’t stress. You have plenty of time to catch up and complete the lessons as you can. Microblogging — with mostly a focus on Twitter — is on the plate for this week; Heather Braum and Janelle Mercer will be your guides for the week.


Microblogging is a type of blogging, with posts normally very short or limited. Twitter is the most popular tool, with a posting limitation of 140 characters or less.

Here’s what the folks at Common Craft have to say about Twitter in Plain English:

(video hosted on YouTube). Visit Common Craft to watch the video there.

Twitter started as a way for people to post “what you’re doing”. But it’s now being used for much much more, including sharing articles and resources; following real-time events and conferences; connecting with librarians and friends; sharing and viewing pictures; following the news, weather, and road conditions; talking to companies; and answering reference questions.

Many people worldwide became aware of Twitter last summer, as protests over the Iran election results occurred, and the Internet became the only way for news to reach the world in most cases. While these events were going on, Clay Shirky was speaking at a TED event at the U.S. State Department on How Social Media Can Make History. I highly recommend you watch his speech, as it illustrates the power of social media around the world.

To help you become more comfortable with Twitter, here are a few terms to be familiar with:

  • Tweet: a posting on Twitter.
  • Twitter handle: your screenname/username on Twitter.
  • Reply: “@23thingsks hello….” sending a public message to another Twitter user or responding to another user’s Tweet.
  • RT @23thingsks: This is a retweet, a reposting of someone else’s Tweet.
  • DM: Direct Message, a private message to another Twitter user.
  • Timeline: The stream of Twitter posts by those you follow.
  • Followers: Those following you on Twitter.
  • Following: Those you follow on Twitter.
  • #23thingsks: Example of a hashtag, the # sign followed by a word or phrase; it’s a way to categorize tweets, especially among users following the same event.

Sharing and Productivity

Twitter and other microblogging tools are the ultimate sharing tools. Share your information about your day, notes from a conference or meeting you’re at, links to articles you’ve read, news events, and other information. As you follow people, you’ll get information shared with you. This increase of information sharing leads to increased productivity. People always ask, how do you find time to keep up with Twitter and other tools? My response is that these tools make me more productive. Because of the network I’ve built on Twitter, lots of information comes to me, information I never would have time to look for, but did need.  Also, I’ll ask questions on Twitter and people respond with helpful answers and solutions.

This network of people is a community. Many of the people I follow on Twitter are librarians, educators, and technology leaders from around the world. I never would have a chance to speak to, listen to, or talk to many of these people in person, but with Twitter, I can do this; and many times these people will talk back! I get to see what people like Tim O’Reilly, Buffy Hamilton, Joyce Valenza, and the folks at Mashable are reading and saying, thanks to what they share on Twitter. Furthermore, I connect with a lot of librarians around the world, and learn from them. Many I’ve met in real life, but many I have not met in real life; yet, because we share the same profession and interests of librarianship, we are able to connect and learn together. Many people call this community of Twitter followers a professional learning community (PLC) or professional learning network (PLN). See this handout (PDF) for a deeper look into what PLNs are, if you’re interested.

Sidenote: People often wonder how you can manage to not struggle with information overload, especially with a network like Twitter. My advice is to let go of being able to read everything and keep up with everything; take in what you can and leave the rest. If something is important enough, plenty people on your network will post it and you’ll see it. Once you take this plan of attack, you won’t feel quite so overwhelmed.

Tools for your consideration

  • Twitter: the most popular microblogging tool.
  • Plurk: another microblogging tool. Many educators in Kansas and around the world use this tool. It works much like Twitter, with a few differences; 23 Things Kansas participant Janet Reynolds is a great Plurk user to learn from.
  • Friendfeed: an aggregator of many online sites, including Delicious, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr; but you can follow other Friendfeed users, to see all online activity in one place.
  • Tumblr: some people are using this as a blog site; but Tumblr is also considered a microblogging tool.
  • Posterous: some people are using this as a blog site; but Posterous is also considered a microblogging tool.
  • Google Buzz: this is the newest microblogging tool, released in the last two weeks by Google. The jury is still out on Buzz, and while you definitely can use it, I highly recommend you take a look at these two articles on privacy and Buzz; both include instructions on how to turn off Buzz. Unlike the previously mentioned tools that have privacy settings that are built-in and easy to find, Buzz is not quite so simple. Maybe Google will get better about its deployment and settings, but I am wary of Buzz at this time.

Tool Instructions and Activity

  1. Sign up for one of the tools listed above; for those of you new to Microblogging, I recommend Twitter since it is so widely used.
  2. Choose to make your account public or private as part of the signup process. Making your account private means people have to ask to follow you before they can see your tweets.
  3. Find people to follow on Twitter. Here are some people to follow, to get you started:
  4. Leave your Twitter (or tool of choice) screenname in the comments area below so others can find you. Make sure you leave your screenname and the site you’re using.
  5. Start posting on Twitter (or your tool of choice) and interacting with other users. The power of Twitter (and other networks) comes in the back-and-forth conversations you can have.
  6. On your blog for the week, answer the following questions:
    1. What do you think about using one of these microblogging tools?
    2. Did you find it easy to find people to follow, especially after a list of examples was given?
    3. Who are three people or organizations you starting following this week and why did you follow them? Have you found their posts helpful?
    4. What kinds of uses do you see you might have for microblogging? Have you already found some uses for it?
  7. Bonus Activity: Use the hashtag #23thingsks on some of your tweets this week. They will then appear in the sidebar of the 23 Things Kansas blog, as well as here. Note: only tweets from public Twitter accounts will show up here.

Further Resources

Week 16: Wrap-up Webinars & Final Posting

You’ve reached the final week of 23 Things Kansas — can you believe it? I know that all the mentors can’t!

For this week, you will have the opportunity to do several things, all of which are completely optional. For more information on what happens next, including program deadlines to be eligible for continuing ed & the prizes, please see this posting from last week.


On Wednesday, April 28, at 10am and Thursday, April 29, at 7pm, we will be hosting two wrap-up webinars. You are invited to participate in both sessions, but we know that many won’t be able to make either one. The webinars will be archived, and the links will be posted at a later date. Please see this page for more information about where to go to participate in the webinars, as well as troubleshooting tips.

During the webinars, you will have the opportunity to share the top “Thing” you learned during 23 Things Kansas, as well as the most surprising “Thing” you learned. The webinars will also be a time to celebrate with your fellow participants. Brenda Hough will facilitate the session, and Cindi Hickey and Heather Braum will be your hosts.

Final Blog Post

If you are interested, for your final blog posting as part of 23 Things Kansas, we’d like to encourage all participants to reflect on the “23 Things” you’ve learned during the program. If you can’t come up with 23 Things, that’s perfectly fine. As we all know, reflection of any kind is good for you to discover what you’ve learned, especially during a multi-week class. You are not required to write this posting, but if you do, it would be great if you posted a link to it in the comments section of this post so others could read it.

Nominate Your Favorite Work By a Participant

What was your favorite participant creation? An Animoto video, a wiki, an IM discussion, a video, a Tweet? Share a link to it or describe it in the comments section of this post.

What Would You Like to Happen Next?

We have some ideas about what we’d like to happen next, after 23 Things Kansas, but we’d also like to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment with your ideas in the comments section of this post.

Photo credit: / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Week 16 Announcement

Congratulations!Next week is the last week of 23 Things Kansas lessons, can you believe it? We can’t believe how fast our time together has gone! A more lengthy posting will come out over the weekend, including information about what will happen at our celebration webinars and next week’s blog post, but we wanted to give everyone a heads up about next week’s plans and schedule.

Two webinars will be held in the WebJunction Kansas, Ad Astra Wimba room.  Go here to access a link to the room, as well as further information about logging in.  (Or click on the “Webinar Login Info” button in the tool bar above.)

The webinars will be held on Wednesday, April 28, 10am-11:30am (the Wimba room will open at 9:30am) and Thursday, April 29, 7pm-8:30pm (the Wimba room will open at 6:30pm).

Also, everyone who registered for the program has until May 28 at midnight to complete all the weekly assignments to be eligible for the prize drawings, as well as receive the 30 hours of continuing education credit. The drawing for the fLip video cameras (3) will be held on June 3.

Please join us on April 28th and/or 29th to celebrate your accomplishments and talk about the future for 23 Things Kansas!

Follow the KLA Conference Virtually

Not only are there going to be some live “virtual sessions” at the KLA Conference this week (see Cindi Hickey’s message on KANLIB/KASL sometime in the past week) that you can catch through Wimba, you can also follow along by tracking the conference hashtag on Twitter, #kla2010. Many people may tweet from sessions, and you will be able to follow along watching the hashtag. You can watch the stream either by going to this page, or

Hope that helps those of you who are unable to attend conference in Wichita, but would like to follow along. I will be tweeting (as always) here, @hbraum.

Week 11: Break

Don’t forget there isn’t a lesson this week. Take the opportunity this week to catch your breath, get caught up, further explore a tool you didn’t have time to during a particular week, comment on participant blogs, or simply take a break from 23 Things Kansas.

We’ll be back next Monday with a lesson on Screencasting. Have a great week! Hopefully the snow melts soon, if you were in the part of the state that ended up with a bit too much snow for the first day of spring.

Finding Followers on Twitter

Someone raised a very good question on the Google Groups listserv for 23 Things Kansas this weekend as to why searching by username through the “Find People” feature on Twitter wasn’t working. Here’s my response:

I’m not sure why that doesn’t work. I did a quick Google search, and found out this from Twitter help:

As late as 02/08/10 – “We are still in the process of improving our Find People search. We hope to release these improvements soon.”

Update 3/2: Twitter supposedly will have the Find People feature fixed this week. Here’s a screenshot of the information. (thanks @Twitter_Tips for the tip!)

Instead, to add people that I already have Twitter usernames for, I just go directly to people’s timelines to click the follow button there. (Here’s my timeline, for example.). Here’s some more information on how to find people to follow on Twitter.

I’ll admit, I have never used the Find People on Twitter function. Instead, as I started following people when I began my Twitter account three years ago, I’d look at other people’s followers’ lists and who they were “talking to” (@ replies) and who they were retweeting information from. If someone looked interesting, had the same interests as me, or posted helpful information, I’d follow them. I also look at people’s lists. Remember, I linked to several lists in the Twitter lesson that I had set up of different librarians and other topic areas. Let me know if you have more questions about this.

Hope these tips help!

Dealing with Spam & Phishing Scams on Twitter

As we all know, the Internet is wonderful place full of lots of good information, but it’s also full of bad an sometimes dangerous information. Some of you may have noticed that you have been receiving Spam messages or “weird” followers on Twitter and aren’t quite sure how to deal with it. The following articles might help:

If you think one of your Twitter friends have been phished or their account hacked it’s always a good idea to send them a nice Direct Message letting them know their account may have been compromised. If this is someone you followed knowingly or actually know, most likely they aren’t doing this maliciously. You should only report people as Spam if they seem to be using Twitter in an intentional malicious way.

Another way to protect yourself from immediately getting followed by these spammers or unwanted types of Twitter users, is to make your account private. How you do this after setting up your account is this: login into your Twitter account and click on Settings in the top right of the screen. Then down at the bottom of the Settings screen (under the Account tab, the first one), look for Tweet Privacy:. Check the box next to Protect my tweets. Checking this box will make your tweets only visible to those you allow to follow you on Twitter; it also allows you to accept or deny any new followers.

Finally, here is a great article about how to protect yourself from phishing in Facebook. The tips can be applied to any social
networking site or website.

Again, the Internet is a great place to network and learn and find information, as you’ve been finding out in 23 Things Kansas, but it’s not perfect. Just like computers have anti-virus software on them, you have to know how to protect your online accounts from these problems.

Please don’t hestitate to ask Janelle or Heather if you have any further questions about this, or leave a comment on this post.

Have a great weekend!

Continue to Register Your Blog Address and Other News

I hope you all have had a great first week so far as part of the 23 Things Kansas program. From the comments I’ve been seeing and hearing, people are excited, having lots of fun, and learning together. I think one of the best things about this program is that it’s a great opportunity for the Kansas library community to come together and “meet” virtually.

I know I’m excited to be “meeting” many of you and “re-meeting” many others I’ve met over my past three years in the Kansas library community. Many of my library friends are those I’ve established “online” friendships with: I never see them face-to-face (some I’ve never even met before in real life!), but we connect online all the time. I hope many of you have the same thing happen to you. With that said, here’s a few important notes:

  1. The deadline to register to receive continuing education credit was at 5pm today. We are very close to having 600 members of the Kansas Library Community registered! WOW! The final count will be coming soon.
  2. Please continue to register your blog address as you set your blog up during the first week’s lesson. The registration form for that can be found here:
  3. Note: When submitting the URL, remember to use the following format:
    1. Blogger URLs will look like this: (fermentedlibrarian is the username — I love this name!)
    2. WordPress URLs will look like this: (lisajoco is the username)
    3. Posterous URLs will look like this: (katewise is the username)
    4. Tumblr URLs will look like this: (longislandlibrary is the username)
    5. Typepad URLs will look like this: (lw23things is the username)
    6. Edublogs URLS will look like this: (beccablog is the username)
  4. I hope many of you have had a chance to look at the new blog listing page. From the comments we’ve heard, people are really liking the functionality of it! It is supposed to now work with all current versions of common Web browsers (Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 7 & 8, Safari, and Firefox).
  5. Finally, I hope the first week of 23 Things Kansas ends well for all of you. Feel free to continue to use this email discussion list to send out your questions, comments, and other discussion topics. Send the emails to Each day you’ll then get a single, digest email of all the messages sent to the discussion list at 6:30 a.m. on the next day. It may be a bit slower response time, but we set it up that way so you’re not all inundated with lots and lots of emails. If you would like to receive each individual email from this discussion list, let Cindi Hickey know at chickey at kslib dot info and she can change your settings. You are welcome to view the archive at any time. The informational footer on the listserv messages has been fixed, so all the links that were there should now be working. That was an oversight on my part and it should now be corrected.

Have a great Friday and weekend!