What if you could sit down at your computer, type a short message, press the Enter button, and have that message instantly delivered to the cell phones of all of your teen readers (or patrons of any age?)
Think of the possibilities…reminders about a book discussion, or a new best-selling book that just came in, or a study session at the library, or just something as simple as “It’s raining today – but nice and dry in the library! Stop on by!”
If the majority of your teen patrons have cell phones, and if they are into ‘texting’, then you would be tapping into one of the most effective ways of communicating with this age group.
All well and good, you say…but wouldn’t that be complicated to set up and maintain, and even more complicated to explain to patrons – teenagers or otherwise?
Thankfully, the answer is a resounding NO! It’s NOT difficult, and it’s INCREDIBLY EASY to explain!
It’s all managed using the Twitter platform. Now before you remind me that Twitter is not real popular among teens, or that very few of your patrons have or want Twitter accounts, let me tell you this….your patrons do NOT need to have a Twitter account. All they need is a cell phone with text messaging capability.
How does it all work?
First, you must set up a Twitter account for the library. If you already have an account for the library, you could set up another that is designated specifically for communication with teens / young adults (or whatever group you want to target).
When you set up an account, you’ll choose or be assigned an account name, i.e. “GPLTeens” (short for Gilford Public Library Teens, as an example).
Once your account is set up, you simply log in, type in your message, and click the Send button (OK, it’s actually called the “Tweet” button…)
Now comes the REALLY easy part.
In order for your teens to receive your messages, all they have to do is send a text that says
“Follow GPLTeens” to this number: 40404. I know, it doesn’t look like a real phone number – and it’s not. But it works. (Obviously, the “GPLTeens” part would be replaced with whatever your account name is.)
Put some signs up in the library that encourage teens to receive text messages from the library. Simple, easy-to-understand signs that say something like this:
"Want to get text messages from the library? Latest news, upcoming events, new books? Send a text that says “Follow GPLTeens” to 40404"