Twitter Video is here! And it's going to be great for libraries

 

NB If you're reading this and can't find Twitter video on the app, don't panic, it's being rolled out across all accounts but not everyone has it yet!

I resolutely refuse to include things in my training just because they're fashionable, and for that reason I still don't talk about Vine in any of the sessions I do. I think Vine can be great (some of the 'Vine-magic' stuff is awesome), but I'm yet to see an absolutely essential use for Libraries or in HE, so it gets left out. [Edit: I've finally seen a good example of a Library Vine account! Check out Newcastle Lib's here.]

Part of the problem is that 6 seconds is just too short for the kinds of ideas I have of how to use what you might call 'social video', as opposed to the more permanent videos you find on Vimeo and YouTube. I feel like I've been waiting for something like Vine, but less trendy...

Happily last week Twitter launched an alternative to Vine (which it also owns, by the way) which I do think we can get some proper use out of. You can now take 30 second videos and upload them to Twitter, where they'll play within the tweet without people needing to leave the site or the app. (At the moment you can't use video already on your camera roll.) The videos can be combinations of several shorter clips like Vine, but it won't automatically loop, and it won't play without someone hitting the 'play' button.

If Vine is the short-attention-span but bang on-trend toddler of internet video, Twitter video is its more considered older sibling. Less cool, but maybe with more meaningful things to say.

Here's how it works (email subscribers, click the title of this post to be taken to the web version if the pictures aren't appearing):

  Image taken from Twitter's blog - click to be taken through to the relevant post

Image taken from Twitter's blog - click to be taken through to the relevant post

Like Vine it records as long as you hold the button, and you can quickly stitch together multiple clips - as many as you can fit into 30 seconds, in fact.

Note the third screen-shot there - you can delete, and drag to re-arrange the order. So it may be worth recording the most important parts (the start and end) first so you know how much time you have left for the rest, then re-arrange the order - rather than meticulously creating something with 20 clips, only to not have enough time for the ending and having to redo the whole thing.

So how can libraries use it? Before we get onto specific themes, the most essential thing is to think mobile. The whole point of this feature is people watch short videos, where they are, within the app. Twitter offered promoted videos to paying sponsors before this was rolled out to all of us, and apparently 90% of them were watched on mobile devices. So, hit the ground running (1 second intro, max!); shoot from the chest up if you've got people in there so they can clearly be seen on a small screen; if you're speaking make sure you're close to your phone so it's not too quiet; if you use words make the font LARGE; and if possible make the video in such a way as to not need sound to make sense.

I'd love some more ideas in the comments, but here's a few video ideas to start things off:

Customer Service: answering questions with video. If you use Twitter for customer service or a channel for enquiries, you'll know that often when one person answers a question it's worth ensuring everyone can see the answer (hence the twitter dot!) as many will find it useful. There could be even more impact to answering a question with video. So for example, a basic query like 'how do I locate a DVD' gets much more interesting if the answer is a video...

Transient videos. By which I mean, something where a video is appropriate or useful or funny or tapping into some sort of meme, but which you don't neccessarily want a 'permanent record' of on your YouTube channel. It's not that Twitter videos aren't permanent of course - they are - but just that your YouTube vids form a sort of canon which needs to be left alone, so the most important videos don't drown under lesser inconsequential ones. But Twitter video would be a way of getting something out there - news about an event, say - without that feeling of permanence.

If you do need to keep them though, you have the option to embed like I did above, meaning a Twitter video can be seen by and used by those not on Twitter, via the Library website, blog, or LibGuides.

Lightning Tours. Everyone loves a virtual tour! And you need a longer video to tour an entire library, but what about a new building, or new collection? 30 seconds should be doable.

Quick-fire 'Screen Capture'. Narrate a video which tells your users how to do something useful  and then tweet it as a twitter video. So that opens up instant guides to using equipment, finding stuff, getting the most out of databases etc. Here's an example of that, explaining how to make Billboards in Photofunia. (You could even have a #30SecondsOn... series.)

Ask A Librarian. For the brave and camera-confident, get a Twitter Q&A going, and answer the best questions with a to-camera answer from someone who knows what they're talking about.

Previews. Preview a larger video (a full virtual tour, say, or an infolit guide) with a movie-style trailer on Twitter video.

That's all I can think of for now but people are bound to come up with more creative ideas, and I'd love to hear them.

There's more on Twitter Video here. How are you going to use Twitter video in your library?