Twitter workshops offered in Olin Library

Olin Library is hosting a series of free workshops this fall that will teach students, faculty and staff how to use Twitter effectively.

The four sessions, led by Washington University subject librarians, will cover the basics of Twitter, including ways to use the social network to promote causes and movements, share photography and form professional connections.

Although Twitter can be used for entertainment, the library hopes to emphasize Twitter’s practical potential, said Makiba Foster, the subject librarian who will lead the workshop on Twitter and social movements.

“It can be frivolous, but we’re thinking about how other folks are trying to use it to get their cause across or let folks know what they’re interested in,” Foster said. “It’s been really interesting to teach that and let folks know that you can do something substantial using Twitter.”

The social network is increasingly acting as a source for original information and a resource for journalists, Foster said. For example, the story about a Republican National Convention attendee being kicked out for racist comments first broke on Twitter.

The library’s workshops will also discuss how Twitter can be used to share photography, both as a complement to breaking news and as a way to make Twitter more intimate, engineering librarian Lauren Todd said.

“[Photography] puts a face on the Twitter account, so it’s a more personal experience,” Todd said. “You’re dealing with somebody who’s there actively showcasing their life in that 140 characters or less.”

Foster said that the photography session was inspired by a local photographer, Demond Meek. Meek received international attention after using Twitter to promote his “Slum Beautiful” photo project depicting dilapidated buildings in St. Louis.

Additionally, the series will cover ways to utilize Twitter to make professional connections. Subject librarian Brian Vetruba said that his session will discuss how students can use Twitter to explore areas of professional interest using tools such as Listorious, a service that allows users to search for and browse Twitter accounts in different categories.

Vetruba also warned students to be wary of posting inappropriate content on Twitter because prospective employers often check Twitter accounts.

“Like Facebook and all of social media, you have to be careful what you say because once it’s out there, it’s out there,” Todd said.

The workshops will be held in Olin Library’s Arc at 3 p.m. on Thursdays throughout the fall. Foster said that while the audience has consisted of primarily staff and graduate students in the past, she hopes to see more undergraduates this year.

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