Week 2 Communication: Twitter and Pipes


Week 2 has 2 Things:  Twitter and Pipes.  Not to worry.  Think of it this way, if it helps:

  • Definitely do the Twitter Thing.  It will be your individual reflection vehicle during the next weeks of this program.
  • The Pipes Thing is optional.  Experiment with it if:  1) you are already an avid Twitter user and the Twitter Thing was a snap or 2) Pipes pique your interest.


What is Twitter…..in 140 characters or less?

Twitter is a microblogging tool for sharing, tracking and conversing about topics of interest in short bursts of text no more than 140 characters in length.

No doubt you’ve already heard of Twitter.  It’s been a phenomenon almost since its inception back in 2006.  You’ve tracked the role it’s played in major world events like the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Egypt’s Arab Spring and Japan’s March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

In this module, we want you to experiment with how Twitter can serve as a rapid-fire, quick interest bulletin board that consolidates and transmits your day-to-day, minute-to-minute library discoveries and initiatives of interest to your patrons.  It can be another fun way of sparking conversation both in and outside the library.

Why Tweet?

  • Because of Twitter’s hyper-short form of communication, there is no laboring over long communiqués.   All you need to do is draft something short and snappy.
  • Messages streaming out of, and in to, your library can be consolidated with the use of something called a hashtag.  Hashtags are unique tags, or labels, that are added to a tweet to highlight its content as being part of an organization or addressing a particular topic.  They often start out as rather informal, self-selected tags that sometimes catch fire with followers.  The identifying feature of a hashtag is the # sign at the start of a short string of letters &/or numbers.  For instance, #asij is ASIJ’s hashtag.
  • You never know where Twitter might take you.  Listen to the founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, describe how Twitter evolved in ways beyond his imagination.

Still not completely sure about Twitter?  Watch these two excellent Common Craft explanatory videos:

Twitter in Plain English
Twitter Search in Plain English

Try it out!

Twitter Activity 1:  Get Tweeting

1.  Sign up for a Twitter account, if you don’t already have one.  Follow the steps at How to Sign Up on Twitter.

2.  Post your Twitter account username on this Collaborate2Innovate site under the Participants Blog and Twitter Accounts tab found along the top navigational bar.

3.  Look for people to follow.  Follow us!  Follow each other!  Follow other colleagues at ASIJ!

  • Grant @GrantHayslip
  • Maria @mpapanice2cu
  • Rebecca @beccadonnelly405
  • Ruth @ruthlesslyterse
  • Michael Stephens @mstephens7
  • Wouter @9wout9

Here are 2 helpful sites for finding people and organizations to follow on topics of interest to you:

  • Listorious   [Tip: Click on About to learn more about Listorious, their top tags, the Listorious 140]
  • wefollow

4.  Post some tweets.  Report on what you are doing right now.  Peddle the last best book you read.  Announce an upcoming event at your library.   Here’s a little help from Twitter:

5.  Direct some of your tweets to a specific Twitter user by adding @username to one of your tweets.

6.  Learn more about how to use Twitter in this infographic from social media guru, Cheryl Lawson:

Twitter Activity 2:  Hashtags 101

1.  Read about Hashtags:

What are Hashtags?
Why use Hashtags?

2.  Use #C2Iasij, our Collaborate2Innovate hashtag.

We’ve coined a hashtag for this project:  #C2Iasij.  Now all you have to do to give it some traction as a legitimate hashtag by using it on your tweets during the next 6 weeks.

Try it out by including #C2Iasij in a couple quick tweets.

Every week, you will be asked to post at least 1 micro-reflection about the week’s module topic.  Please add the #C2Iasij hashtag to each of your micro-reflections.  And, by all means, tweet beyond that minimum requirement.  It’s the more the merrier when it comes to tweeting!

Twitter Activity 3:  Adding an image your tweet.

Adding an image to a tweet is slick.

1.  Watch this quick how to video:

2.  Now, go ahead!   Add some images!  Remember to add the #C2Iasij hashtag!


Individual Reflection:  Use our #C2Iasij hashtag to tweet about tweeting on your Twitter site!

Group Reflection:  Post 1 group reflection on your group blog about your experiences using Twitter this week.  Discuss Twitter’s potential in your libraries and how a unique hashtag for your library might be put to good use.


Delve into all that Twitter offers by exploring Twitter Basics in their Help Center.


What are Pipes?

Pipes are mashups.  Sounds messy, doesn’t it?   But, in fact, mashups are an efficient way of selecting and aggregating the flow of information that you want to take in and perhaps present to a wider audience.

Yahoo Pipes is an extremely intuitive software that makes it easy for you to specify and consolidate sources of information on a specific topic.

Why use Pipes?

Let’s start with an example:  Food blogs.  I love food blogs.  They are more than a bit addictive!  I can recapture some of the time I expend on my food blog habit by being efficient in the way that I follow them.   On a time efficiency scale, I can:

Here is what my Yahoo Pipe for my 12 favorite food blogs looks like:

And here is it’s output as an image and text mashup:

Easy!  Efficient!  My Yahoo Pipe gives me the latest blog entries from 12 different food blogs in one view.  I can just click on any of the images listed at the bottom and, boom!, I’m at the full blog post.

But Pipes are not just for food blogs!

You can consolidate and customize, with surprising specificity, blogs, news sites and image sources of all sorts.   In your library, a custom Pipe might be used to:

  • Capture the breaking blog posts from student blogs for book clubs, literature circles and Sakura Medal Brainbowl Teams.
  • Generate an image or content mashup for the 2nd Grade Insect Unit.
  • Follow popular author blogs
  • Track Iditerod news stories.


1.  Find 3 blogs that you’d like to experiment with and have their RSS Feeds handy.

Don’t know any blogs to follow?  Have a snoop here at the 2012 Weblog award winners and runners up best blogs of 2012.  [Hint: See the gray panel on the left for links to categories and the years along the top to see previous year winners.]

Want to know more about RSS feeds?  Read more about them here:  RSS Explained

2.   Go to Yahoo at https://login.yahoo.com/config/login.  If you already have a Yahoo account, log in.  If you don’t, scroll down and punch the Create New Account button.  Fill in the necessary information and, voila!, you have a Yahoo account.

3.  To create a pipe, go to Yahoo Pipes at  http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/ and sign in with your Yahoo login in the upper right corner.

4.  Once you are logged in, hit    along the top.

5.  Now you are ready to build a pipe.  This video [4:39 min] will show you how to do it.

6.  Post your Pipe’s URL on to the your participants’ blog.


This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Yahoo Pipes can do.  If you want to get more sophisticated with Yahoo Pipes, please explore these links:


Please post about your experience this week with Yahoo Pipes:

  1. 1 group reflection to the group blog.
  2. At least one individual micro-reflections to your Twitter account using our #C2Iasij hashtag.

Wondering what to write about?  Here are some suggestions:  Can you see any applicability for Yahoo Pipes in your library or in your personal life?  How is it an improvement over how you gather/track information now?  Was it tricky or easy to wrap your mind around Yahoo Pipes?


For the Twitter section:


For the Pipes section:


This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Fall of 2012.  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was adapted by Ruth Larson Bender for American School in Japan. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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