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Who is following us? Data mining a library's Twitter followers

Robin R. Sewell (Medical Sciences Library, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 1 March 2013

2631

Abstract

Purpose

Twitter is an increasingly popular social networking tool for libraries to use to reach out to their patrons, but very little research has been done to determine who is following library tweets. The aim of the paper is to use the existing Twitter follower information for the Sterling Evans Library at Texas A&M as a test bed to determine the composition of Evans Twitter followers. The Medical Sciences Library's primary user groups are made up largely of graduate and professional students, making the difference in the number of graduate and undergraduate followers of particular interest.

Design/methodology/approach

Follower data were gathered from the Evans Twitter page and each user was identified and categorized. Additional data were collected on the number of tweets, and the state of the account, active or inactive.

Findings

A total of 432 follower accounts were examined. A total of 54.37 percent were identified as affiliated with Texas A&M University. The largest group of followers were students (23.61 percent), made up primarily of undergraduates (81.05 percent). Faculty/staff (7.64 percent) showed very little participation. Unaffiliated followers included corporations (19.68 percent), alumni (11.57 percent), and other libraries or librarians (7.64 percent).

Originality/value

Very little can be found in the library literature on Twitter follower analysis. This is the first large and detailed analysis of library Twitter followers.

Keywords

Citation

Sewell, R.R. (2013), "Who is following us? Data mining a library's Twitter followers", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 160-170. https://doi.org/10.1108/07378831311303994

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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