Category Archives: Activity

Thing 7 : Communicate

We are pleased to have Yuyun Wirawati from Li Ka Shing Library (Singapore Management University) to share her insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.


My 7-year-old vivacious niece loves to invite people for Skype or Hangouts… not because she likes video chat, but because she likes to comment on people’s appearances! Her favorite comment: “Ha..ha..ha… your nose looks super BIG..ha..ha..ha..”. Oh my, how I wish we can just stick to the old-phone-calls.


Video Chat

You must have used your phone to communicate verbally (phone calls) or textually (SMS, WhatsApp). Now let’s communicate visually! There are many jargons used to describe this type of visual communication: video-chat, video-call, video-conference, etc. For this week’s Thing, we are going to explore two tools that enable video communication: Skype and Google Hangouts.

  • Skype can be installed on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or even TV and home phones (although I’ve never tried using Skype with my TV).
  • To activate Skype apps, you need to create a Skype account. Once you have registered for an account, you can start adding your friends.
  • You can make free Skype to Skype calls.
  • You can also use your Skype to make calls to mobile/landline numbers. This service, however, is not free.
  • Explore Skype’s features: you can make one-on-one or group video calls; you can even send files and photos during a call.
  • If your Internet connection is slow, you can disable the video and just communicate verbally. You can also mute the microphone/voice, or just use text for chatting.
  • Hangouts can be installed on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
  • To activate Hangouts apps, you need to create a Google account. Once you have an account, you can start adding your friends.
  • Explore Hangouts’ features: the computer version has more features, such as screenshare and home phone calls.
  • If your Internet connection is slow (or you want to avoid displaying your nose on the screen), you can disable the video and just communicate verbally. You can also mute the microphone/voice, or just use text for chatting.

Hannah Becker has made feature comparisons between Hangouts, Skype and some other communication tools.


Examples of use of Google+ Hangout

  • University of Michigan
    Nicole Scholtz, a librarian with University of Michigan offers assistance with finding and using geospatial data, using ArcGIS and QuantumGIS software, and advanced uses of Excel via Google+ Hangout screencast function.
  • NASA Hangout+ Air
    NASA is using Hangouts+ air to interact with users and let them find out more about what NASA doing.


(Complete Activities 1 – 4 before Saturday, 1 March, 10:30 am, if you want to join our Hang-out session)

  1. Create an account with Google if you do not have one yet. Take note that having a Gmail account means you already have a Google Account.
  2. Install Hangouts, either on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
  3. Login to Hangouts using your Google account. Make sure that you can login successfully.
  4. Share with us your Google Account user name so that we can invite your for a hang-out session (Sat, 1 Mar, 10:30am).
  5. On Sat, 1 Mar, 10:30am, SG and PH time, please login to your Hangouts.
  6. I shall invite you for a hangout session, and…
  7. Let’s hangout!

Thinking Points

What are the benefits of these communication tools?

(Lower communications cost. You can communicate to your friends and family, for free – except for the internet cost. Interestingly, Skype has this disclaimer at its website: “Skype is not a replacement for your telephone and can’t be used for emergency calling” :))

What are the benefits of these communication tools in library setting?

(Again, lower communications cost. The Library has international vendors, and sometimes I need to communicate with them verbally, especially when the email conversation is getting us nowhere. After an IDD phone conversation, I would need to fill up forms, sign forms and submit even more forms. Plus, the Library would need to pay the IDD fee. Nowadays, I just Skype with the vendors and happily say goodbye to the forms.)

What kind of practical applications can you think of for this visual communication?

(Remote office. In one of the meetings that our library had, we suddenly realized that we needed one colleague’s input to finalize a decision. She was not at the office at that time so we decided to ‘Skype’ her. Through a Skype video-call, she was able to see us and vice versa. We then continued our meeting with her participation – she did not need a chair, though.)


Can we leverage on these tools to support and assist library users?

(Yes, I would think so. Example: I used Hangouts to deliver my talks to students from other institutions. This allows me to remain in my office, yet still have the interaction with my audience. Unlike other web-conference tools, students are much more adaptable to Hangouts and most of them already have Google accounts. I bet you can think of many other examples.)


Read the original 23 Mobile Things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 7
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 7

Follow 23mobile things’s board Skype, Chat and Google+ Hangouts on Pinterest.

Thing #7’s Guest Blogger

Yuyun Yuyun is a Business Research Librarian at Singapore Management University. Yuyun loves to play social games on her Android tablet. She uses a pseudonym, and her biggest fear is that one day her students will find out her gaming name.

Thing 6 : Video

Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.


Video is getting popular

Insivia shared 50 must know stats about video marketing for 2013. Statistics like “86% of colleges and universities have a presence on YouTube, according to the University of Dartmouth“, and “Each day 100 million internet users watch an online video” are just a few examples. Statistics from YouTube show that more than 4 billion hours of video are seen each month, and 25% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices.  YouTube is also a popular search engine, particularly for DIY topics.  Of course there are other video apps and tools to consider as well, including Vimeo, VineViddySocial CamAnimotouStream, Flickr, Instagram and more!

Vimeo started out as a video sharing website for film professionals, thus, I really like how Vimeo retains the quality of your uploaded video. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the limit to the length of the video. Here’s a Library Tour made by students of The BookBench from Rizal Library and another one by Li Ka Shing Library (Singapore Management University).

In this Thing, we will take a look at some of the ways libraries and library workers can use videos for engaging clients and providing information about services, events and collections to their communities. I have also done a blog posting on simple free screen casting tools like Jing and Quicktime that can help you create instructional videos easily, plus some tips I learned from Ms Kathryn Greenhill from Curtin University and Ms Molly Tebo from State Library of Western Australia during ALIA conference in 2013.

Listen to a personal and very encouraging voice message for all of you (#23mthingsphsg participants) from Ms Mylee Joseph from Sydney. =)

A welcome video greeting for #23mthingsphsg participants from @janholmquist


You have probably seen some great uses of YouTube for libraries.

But what about something new like Vine and Instagram?

Instagram & Vine

Other tools

  • Mozilla Popcorn Maker
    Instead of creating a brand new video from scratch, you can also use Mozilla Popcorn Maker to mash different videos quickly to give you your desired results. It is unbelievably simple. Do take note that if you are looking into mashing up a video from YouTube, videos which do not allow embedding (copyrighted) will not be mashable.

    Wanting to annotate the video you’ve seen via Youtube, Coursera or Edx? introduced by @aarontay allows one to easily synchronise your notes with a video. This makes it so easy for you to annotate a library instructional video and share it with your users. Simply pause the video where you want to annotate, then type into the blank spaces beside the video.Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 10.30.41 pm


  1. Record a video
    • Download Animoto, GoAnimate, Instagram or Vine app on your mobile device
    • Record a video using one of the apps
    • Share it via Twitter using the hashtag #23mthingsphsg
    • See guide on how to take video using instagram and vine.
  2. Share a video
    • Share a YouTube video relating to your library via Twitter using the hashtag #23mthingsphsg

Thinking Points

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 6
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 6

Check out 23MobileThing’s Video Pinterest Board for more tutorials and ideas.

Follow 23mobile things’s board Video on Pinterest.

Joan Joan is a Senior Librarian (New Media) at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and has been in the profession for nearly five years now. Her forte lies in using social media and mobile tools. She graduated with a BSSc from National University of Singapore and holds a Master in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

There and back again: 23 Mobile Things

by Kathryn Barwick, Jan Holmquist and Mylee Joseph

In 2013 we spent several months adapting the concept of #23mobilethings from an in-house program at Guldborgsund-bibliotekerene in Danish into an English language #23mobilethings course that was available for anyone around the world to study at their own pace, with encouragement to adapt it for further use for their colleagues and library clients.

Along the way we discovered ….

  • The power of Creative Commons licences to allow something like this course to begin small and local, and to grow and spread around the world, becoming better and better as it travels and evolves
  • The various tools and methods of communication that allow you to work effectively with colleagues around the world, including: Time Zone Converter ( ), Doodle ( ), Google docs, Google + hangouts, Skype, a sense of humour and the ability to ask good questions!
  • How challenging it is to cope with a BYOD (bring your own device) audience.  We tried not to favour any particular mobile operating system or type of mobile device.
  • That adopting mobile technology in your working life can lead to greater efficiency (especially answering messages and email on the go), provide new tools for collaboration and makes you think about your workflows and procedures differently
  • That technology is moving fast … keeping up with new apps, new devices and upgraded operating systems is going to be an ongoing challenge for all of us.

We’re delighted to have colleagues in Singapore, Philippines and many other places around the world joining the #23mobilethings adventure.

A personal and very encouraging voice message to all of you by Ms Mylee Joseph from Sydney. =)

Thing 5 : Photos + Maps + Apps

We are pleased to have Shielski Montenegro (PH) from Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University to share her insights with us. We (Karryl and Joan) have added some examples from Singapore and the Philippines, which we hope will be useful and interesting for you. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

Don’t you wish you could travel back in time? Visit historical sites in other countries, catch a glimpse of the lives of your ancestors, witness the evolution of landscapes and architecture through the decades? I can only imagine how breathtaking that would be! But even though I won’t get to experience those things first hand, apps are now available to let me take a peek through history. Bless the day smartphones were invented! Just a few taps and swipes and ta-daaaa! That’s the beauty of smartphones – they have that intriguing capability to perform a lot of things. I don’t even have to understand how they work; I just sap up the glory they provide. Convenient, don’t you think? Now forget the time machine. We can now go back in time using our mobile devices, thanks to apps like Historypin (!

Historypin is basically a digital photo archive where photographs, videos, and even audio recordings, can be overlaid using virtual pins on Google Maps. Historypin is more on the historical, informative side. Speaking of history, I recall that in high school, I didn’t fare well in history class because back then I thought it was boring and it always tested my memory. It was agonizing having to memorize dates and the corresponding events! Historypin, however, is not about dates, but about connecting the present with the past through the use of photos and maps combined. What makes it more interesting is that, it lets you experience local history while also allowing you to interact with different people and seeing the world in a different light through the photos they capture. It is undoubtedly a great tool to learn and share stories. Okay, so how exactly does it work? This short introductory video explains what we need to know about the app.

Aside from Historypin, there are also other apps that we can try. One is WhatWasThere (, which is an iPhone app. Another one is called Sepia Town (, which is available on desktop and has no mobile version, but works just as well. 

Here’s an example of how NTU Libraries integrated a repository of digital images of mural paintings of Bagan Temples constructed between the 11th and 18th centuries using Google Maps and WordPress. –Joan


In 2009, Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) caused a lot of destruction in the Philippines, but was unable to dampen the Filipino spirit. Captured on WhatWasThere is a glimpse of how people from Quiapo, Manila turned an underpass full of flood water into a giant, free-for-all swimming pool:

What Was There PH

Libraries can use HistoryPin, WhatWasThere, and other applications to post pictures of historical moments in the library–such as inaugurations, some important exhibits, VIP visits, parties, among others–and pin them on the exact location of the event on the virtual map. It will be like a map full of #ThrowbackThursday photographs! –Karryl


  1. Download and install the Historypin app (iOS, Android, Windows) to your smartphone. Tip: Login using a Gmail account to be able to fully experience its features.
  2. View historic photographs near your current location and/or any location of your choosing.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the app including the type of information included in the pins.
  4. Compare the experience when you use Historypin on a desktop computer.


  1. Browse photo collections uploaded by other users. Here are some collections for your perusing pleasure:
  2. Try pinning a random travel photo from your phone. Not sure how to pin a photo? Check this tutorial out:
  3. Explore other similar apps: WhatWasThere (iPhone app) and Sepia Town (no mobile app).
  4. Just play around with the apps and see how these tools can be relevant to library services.


  1. Capture a photo of a local landmark. You can also scan old photographs, but please take note of the source.
  2. Upload the photo to the map using Historypin, WhatWasThere or Sepia Town, whichever floats your boat. Tip: When pinning a picture to a map, don’t forget to attribute! If possible, include links to the original source. #copyrightissues
  3. Find a photo on the map and try overlaying that photo with the one taken on that spot with your phone. This is called Historypin Repeat, having photos that other users have taken using the app.
  4. Try to create a virtual tour or photo collection using a theme (e.g. libraries and museums in your city). You can use photos pinned by other users, but include the source.
  5. Take a screenshot of your pin and share it with us via Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #23mthingsphsg.

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 5
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 5

Shielski Montenegro Shie Montenegro is a Reference Librarian at the Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University and has been in the profession for almost five years now. When she’s not at work facilitating research consultations and providing information assistance, she is out there creating something artsy and forever dreaming of the sea.

Thing 4 : Maps and Checking in

Click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

Smartphones and mobile devices are now equipped with global positioning system (GPS). This gives them the ability to determine your current position on a map. This also allows library clients and staff to locate themselves on a map and to get directions to get to various locations. You can see this at work in “real time” tracking apps for bus and train timetables. – Mylee Joseph


Google Map
  • Try out the default maps app installed on your device. You can also download other map apps, such as the Google Map app.
  • Try out the different options for direction functionality (walk, drive, public transport). What are the directions to your library like?
  • Claim your location on Google map [Read Aaron‘s view on should you claim your library’s virtual place?]
Google Indoor Map
  • Google Maps also have indoor maps which include many cultural institutions including libraries
    • Watch how it works :-
    • Click here to submit your Google indoor map
    • See case studies of Google indoor maps
    • Here’s an example of how an indoor map looks like for Singapore National Library :-
    • Read how Vermont Library Association created their indoor maps.


Aaron wrote a very detailed blog post on location-based apps and why libraries are “popular” check-in venues. He also has a paper presented at the IATUL conference (2012) on NUS libraries’ experience with Foursquare.


Foursquare is a location-based social networking site that allows users with GPS-enabled mobile devices to share their location with friends by “checking-in”. Once they have checked in a particular location, they can easily share it with their friends on Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter friends. As a form of ramification, users who check-in at specific venues can also earn badges.Users who regularly check-in to a library will be get a Bookworm badge.

By checking-in a certain number of times (or in different locations), users can collect virtual badges. In addition to that, users who have checked in the most times at a certain venue will be crowned “Mayor” until someone surpasses their number. Businesses have started to embrace Foursquare, and have began offering special deals to users who are crowned as “Mayors”. See here for case studies on the use of Business Foursquare.

Other Location Apps
  • LibraryThing has a free app called Readar (it was formerly Local Books), with more than 80,500 bookstores, libraries and bookish events listed it uses GPS to allow the user to locate nearby venues and literary events.
  • Facebook also has a check-in option.
  • You may also make use of geocaching app to get users to “find” your library.
What are some interesting location-based related projects by libraries?

Thinking Points

  • Do you use maps as wayfinding guides inside your library (eg. University of Virginia Library )?
    If your library facility is large (or spread over several locations), does your website or app include maps?
  • Have you considered geocaching as a library program (allowing interaction with the library as a destination)?
  • Have you considered editing the information about your library in Librarything Readar, Google places and Foursquare, perhaps even adding some photos?
  • Do you have any signs in your library to encourage people to “check-in”?
  • Have you considered holding a competition with Foursquare check-ins at your library?


Find an example of how a library, museum or even a local business establishment uses Foursquare or Facebook to check-in. Alternatively, you may also look for ones which use Google maps or geocaching to create some buzz for their community. Please share your examples with us via the comments section below or tweet us with the hashtag #23mthingsphsg.

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 4
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 4

Check out 23MobileThing’s Maps and Checking-in Pinterest Board for more tutorials and ideas.

Follow 23mobile things’s board Maps and Checking-in on Pinterest.

Joan Joan is a Senior Librarian (New Media) at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and has been in the profession for nearly five years now. Her forte lies in using social media and mobile tools. She graduated with a BSSc from National University of Singapore and holds a Master in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Thing 3 : Email Marketing

Click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

eMail on the move was the initial title for Thing #3 of 23 Mobile Things. Karryl and I talked about it and thought most people must have already set up email account(s) with their mobile device–thus, it seems too narrow a scope if we keep it as eMail on the move. That being said, we think it is even more important for us to realise how important it is for our email-marketing messages to be mobile-friendly in order to be effective since many people view emails via mobile devices nowadays.

Mobile-friendly e-Mailer versus a Mobile-unfriendly e-Mailer

E-mail is an indispensable part of daily life. For example, if you forget a password the most common fix is to have a new one emailed to you. So why not have it handy on your mobile device? You can choose to use the email feature built into your device, or you can find an app that you prefer, there are many to choose from. – Mylee Joseph


  • Look into your settings to enter the details of your Gmail or any other email address. (Note: you may need some extra information to attach your work or home email eg. POP or IMAP Email server settings and ports)
  • View this online tutorial on Gmail for mobile devices
  • Try sending an email to the course authors at or to a friend.
  • Create a signature for your emails sent using your mobile device. I think this is important because lets the recipients know that the email will be brief as it is being sent from a mobile device. (note : See steps for Android phone and iphone)
  • Take a photo and email it to yourself (NOTE: Take the photo first. From the camera roll, you will have an option to send it via email)


  • Check out some of the email apps out there – often they have better interfaces than your default phone app. Here’s a list of recommended apps for iPhone and for Android.
  • Consider whether you want to receive “push” notifications (pop-ups for new emails) or whether you would rather check your email at a time that suits you.
  • Take note of email etiquette for mobile devices. It doesn’t give you the excuse to overuse abbreviations or make too much typos.
How to Create Mobile Responsive e-Newsletters

Here are some popular tools that can help you create e-newsletters that are mobile friendly without having to understand HTML-5 or using any webkit.

How to Embed Videos in your Email

Videos have become a BIG thing in conveying messages nowadays, and technology has made embedding videos so much easier in emails. (More will be covered in Lesson #6 – Video). Gmail allows you to embed a YouTube video in an email–thus allowing one to to send videos via email without chucking up too much mailbox space.

  1. Right-click the YouTube video that you want to insert and select “Copy Video URL” from the window that appears.
  2. Right-click anywhere inside the “Message” field on the Gmail screen and select “Paste.”
  3. Click “Send.” The recipient will see the email as per below. Please note only recipients using Gmail accounts will be able to see it like this.


Read also Pinpointe’s article on How to embed video in email.


  1. Create an e-Newsletter using flashissue.
  2. Email it to us at or to a friend.
  3. Take a screenshot of your e-newsletter and share it with us via Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #23mthingsphsg. (NOTE : See steps on how to take screenshots with Android and iPhone)

Sample e-Newsletter created using flashissue

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 3
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 3

Check out 23MobileThing’s Email Pinterest Board for more tutorials and ideas.

Follow 23mobile things’s board Email on Pinterest.

Joan Joan is a Senior Librarian (New Media) at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and has been in the profession for nearly five years now. Her forte lies in using social media and mobile tools. She graduated with a BSSc from National University of Singapore and holds a Master in Information Studies from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Thing 2 : Photo Apps

What is Instagram? How similar is @ and # on Instagram and Twitter? Who should I follow? and How do I post a photo and create a photo stream, among others. We are pleased to have Hedren (SG) from NTU Libraries to share his insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yes, indeed! I enjoy taking photographs and sharing them with my family and friends. At this day and age, who doesn’t, right? However, I don’t carry my camera with me all the time (too heavy!) but my phone never leaves my side – like most of you I believe.

Today, cameras are fitted into most phones and they are getting better and better. From 2 to 5, 8, 10, 12, 20, and now 41 megapixels (this number still continues to increase), we are now armed with pixel-perfect cameras in our pockets. It is no wonder that we are taking more pictures than ever before.


What is a Photo App?
  • Explore your phone or tablet to take a photograph of your library or institution (like a sign with the name of your library or institution or the exterior of the building).
  • Locate the camera roll or gallery through the menu on your device to view the image.
  • Open Twitter from your device (remember this from Lesson 1?), attach the photo and tweet it with a short message, something like, “This is where I work, *name of the library/institution*.” Remember to use the hashtag #23mthingsPHSG.
  • See our first instagram shot under #23mthingsphsg


Okay I have to confess, I am sometimes quite reluctant to bring my DSLR camera out (for various reasons), and so it really helps that I can rely on different applications (or apps, for short) on my mobile phone to capture important moments. During my vacation in Russia last year, I actually took more photos using my mobile phone because of how I can share them instantly to my Facebook account.

What are some interesting photos-driven projects?

Types of Photo Apps

Different photo apps available today provide seamless integration with our social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, among others. These apps make is easy for us to share our experiences. Instead of taking a photo, going home, connecting and transferring to your computer, and then posting it online, mobile photo apps make it much easier to upload and publish our photographs immediately. Photo apps also provide filters or adjustment tools to enhance the look and feel of the photo. Try out some of the following photo apps, such as the following:

Adobe Photoshop Express Adobe Photoshop Express
iPhone | Android
Camera+ Camera+
Photo Editor by Aviary Photo Editor by Aviary
iPhone | Android
Pixlr Express Pixlr Express
iPhone | Android
Snapseed Snapseed
iPhone | Android
VSCO Cam Logo VSCO Cam
iPhone | Android

Another alternative for presenting photos is to create collages that combine different photos into a single post. Take more photos around your library or institution and create a collage using one of the following apps:

Fuzel Fuzel
Photo Grid PhotoGrid
iPhone | Android
PicFrame PicFrame
iPhone | Android
Pixlr Express Pixlr Express
iPhone | Android


Try out Instagram
  1. To install, download the Instagram from your mobile app store [ iPhone | Android ]. Similar to Twitter, Instagram also has hashtags. Some of the popular hashtags include the following:
    • #igers (refers to Instagrammers or people who use Instagram)
    • #selfies (refers to a picture of yourself taken by you)
    • #instamood (To show how you are feeling)
  2. Take a picture and upload with the #23mthingsPhSG hashtag. It can be a picture of your meal (or even your outfit of the day –#OOTD if you are brave!) or just about anything that you want to share with other participants
  3. Type in a description. Something like :

    Hello, everyone! I am *YOUR NAME* from *YOUR COUNTRY*. This is *YOUR FOOD*. #23mthingsphsg
    Hello, everyone! I am *YOUR NAME* from *YOUR COUNTRY*. This is my #OOTD! #23mthingsphsg

  4. Make sure you share via Twitter so we can “see” your photograph
  5. Alternatively, you can use any other photo apps to take a photo and share it on Twitter with the #23mthingsPhSG hashtag
  6. Share your photo on Instagram and Twitter and see the feeds here:
  7. Go to Instagram tips to learn how to take a photo and find your way around the app

Thinking Points

  • When was the last time you printed out photographs you have taken? What could be the reason behind this?
  • How could your library use photographs to promote library services, events and activities?
  • Do you have a permission form available so that when you take photographs of clients or events, you have their agreement for those images to be used and shared online?
  • How easy is it for clients to contribute digital photographs to your library collection (eg. local history)?
  • Share your thoughts with us @twitter #23mthingsphsg or leave a comment here.


Through the mobile and mobile apps, it is so easy for us to create and publish content. And in today’s online world, your content needs to be shared in order to be seen. However, how do you protect and encourage sharing and re-using of your content at the same time? Well, Creative Commons is the way to go. Understand more about it through the short guide below.

Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 2
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 2

Thing 2′s Guest Blogger:

Hedren Hedren Sum is an Assistant Librarian (New Media Group) and Art Librarian (Design) at the Nanyang Technological University. He has more than 7 years experience on designing promotional materials. As part of this job, Hedren is constantly exploring and leveraging on different media to engage library users for teaching and learning. Follow him on Facebook, Slideshare and Linkedin, where he frequently shares interesting news and tips on design.

Thing 1 : Twitter

What is Twitter? What’s the difference between using @, # and D? We are pleased to have Aaron (SG) from NUS Libraries to share his insights with us. Make sure you click all tabs (Discover, Explore, and Activities) to get to the end of the lesson.


Like many, when I first started using Twitter in 2009, I didn’t see the point of it.

I hated the 140 characters limit of each tweet. It just seemed like a poorer version of Facebook and few people I knew were on Twitter.

But today, I would say without Twitter, I would be totally lost. It serves as my compass, map, and radar. It keeps me updated on the latest news and clues me in on what some of the smartest people in the profession worldwide are reading, thinking and saying. It has become for me the ultimate source of professional development–like a think tank and a microphone. Have something you don’t quite understand? Need a second option? Trying asking on Twitter. It’s quite amazing how you can get connected just to the right person when helpful people help broadcast your question by retweeting.


What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social network similar to Facebook except you are limited to 140 characters. A major difference between Twitter and Facebook is that, while in general relationships in Facebook are usually meant to be symmetrical (friends on Facebook can see each others’ update), in Twitter, this is not always the case.

If you want to see the updates made on Twitter by an account, say Justin Bieber’s account (which happens to be @justinbieber), you are supposed to follow him or to put it another way you are to be a follower of his.

The interesting thing about Twitter is that, there is no requirement for someone you follow to follow you back. So in the case of Justin Bieber’s Twitter account, he is followed by 48 million Twitter accounts (so all 48 million will see updates he posts), but he himself follows far fewer accounts.

So don’t be disappointed or offended if some celebrity or even normal person you follow on Twitter doesn’t follow you back.

The whole beauty of Twitter is you try to ‘curate’ interesting people to follow, finding people who tend to produce interesting updates, be it thoughts or sharing of articles. So for example you might following noted library automation expert Marshall Breeding (@mbreeding) for library tech news or try following Barbara Fister (@bfister) for issues like information literacy and broader intellectual freedom issues as they pertain to library and academia.


Some people I am following on Twitter

Most Twitter accounts are public and the updates can be seen by anyone on the web. Also note that with a public Twitter account, other users can follow you automatically without your explicit approval, so don’t tweet anything you don’t want your loved ones or employer to see. 🙂

Private accounts are possible, where your updates cannot be seen except by those you allow to follow you. But I think this defeats the purpose of Twitter.

Some other terminology you need:

What is a Tweet?

How do I use @ ?

@ – Use this to direct a tweet to a specific user-account.

For example, if you tweet


The Twitter account @aarontay (me!) will get a notification a tweet was directed at me. This is also known as a Twitter mention. Do note, that anyone can send a tweet to you this way, even accounts not following you.

You may notice I added #23mthingsPhSG to the tweet, that’s a hash tag which I will explain later.

What is DM?

DM – This stands for direct message. Tweets sent with @username are still public and anyone can see them (though the user mentioned will get a notification). If you want a message that can be seen only by a specific person, use DM.

For example, if you tweet:

D aarontay Hi this is a private message

Only the Twitter user @aarontay will see the message. The catch here is, you can send DMs only to your followers.

What are hash tags and how are they used?

As a librarian or library staff, you must be familiar with the idea and purpose of subject headings or tags. Hash tags are similar, they can be used to organize tweets of the same topic together. If you attend conferences, a conference hashtag will be advertised to be used. So, if a person wanted to collate all the tweets from that conference, you could search for that hashtag.

We will be using the hash tag #23mthingsPhSG for our Twitter chat on 18th January, 10:30am.

What other terms are used on Twitter?

Definitely check out the definition of a Retweet as well as the Twitter glossary here.


Who should I start following on Twitter?

When you create an account on Twitter, you may be given suggestions on who to follow. But if you still need ideas on who to follow you can start up with the people on this Twitter listLibrary Singapore Peeps a list of librarians in Singapore who are active on Twitter maintained by myself. Here’s another list of Philippines Libraries and Librarians collated by Karryl.

Or for a more global list just google for lists of ‘best’ librarians to follow on Twitter (there are many such lists).

You can also look for library vendors and organizations to follow. For example, libraries that have Twitter accounts include @Rizal_library, @PublicLibrarySG , @NUSlibraries, @NTUlibraries, @LORA_DLSULib, etc. You can also get the latest news from Library publishers, vendors such as @Ebsco, @Jstor , @springshare etc. Have a vendor in mind? Just Google for their Twitter account.

Feel free to experiment and unfollow accounts that you find are posting tweets that turn out to be not interesting to you.

What should I tweet? How should I increase the number of followers I have?

Initially, you probably won’t have many followers. That’s okay. Twitter works fine, even if you have few followers as long as you get value out of the stream of updates you get. You will find many tweets will be of links to articles or videos that might be of great interest to you.

If you find any of the content tweeted interesting, you can retweet it to pass it on to your followers who might not see that tweet because they follow different accounts.

Twitter is a tool used for conversation, so as you gain followers, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or add comments to articles you read.

If you constantly post interesting and unique content or retweet useful information, you will find your followers increasing as people come to rely on you as a source of interesting and valuable news.

Have a professional blog post? Tweet it! See some new development or breaking news, that you don’t see anyone else tweeting? Tweet it! See someone tweeting a question you can answer? Answer it! See a question you can’t answer? Retweet the question to amplify the tweet!

What are some interesting Twitter-related projects by libraries?

These are only some ideas of course, you can find many more.


    1. Create a personal account on Twitter.
    2. Upload a profile picture for your Twitter account.
    3. Besides using Twitter on a web browser, you can try logging on using a Twitter client such as Tweetdeck on your desktop. You can also try tweeting from your smartphone or tablet using a Twitter client. The official Twitter client for most major mobile operating systems are good to start off with.
    4. Start following people of interest, perhaps from lists of librarians in SG or PH, or from a global list.
    5. Join us for our Twitter chat on 18th January 2014, Saturday, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm.
    6. Tweet your answers to the following
      • Introduce yourself and tell us how you will describe yourself using a book title.
      • Do you use Twitter for work or professional development? How? If not, why not?
      • Do you separate your social media identity for work and personal? Why?
    7. Important : Remember to tag all your tweets with the hashtag #23MThingsPHSG so that we can find each other. Periodically, do a search on Twitter for the hashtag #23MThingsPHSG to see what other people in the Twitter chat are saying and considering responding or replying to them.



I believe this covers the basics of using Twitter, even though there is still more you can learn about it. My advice is to give Twitter a go by using it daily for a month or two, as it takes some time to get into it.

Good luck!


Remix from the original 23 Mobile things :
23 Mobile Things – Thing 1
ANZ 23 Mobile things – Thing 1

Thing 1’s Guest Blogger:

Aaron Tay Aaron Tay is a Senior Librarian at the National University of Singapore Libraries. He serves as e-services facilitator, overseeing various library functions, including chat reference, social media, mobile and discovery services. He maintains a blog on librarianship at and is an active user of Twitter (@aarontay)