T*breaktweets hits the big time with LobsteroticaJuly 27th, 2010 By Chelsea Hughes
We've been using Twitter to promote our digital collections since January 2009 (has it really been that long?). We posted a blog about our experiences a while back. In short, we post one thing from our digital collections twice a day and call them t*breaktweets.
As a digital service manager and someone responsible for promoting our digital collections, I think Twitter is a fabulous way to get the word out about the sheer awesomeness of what the National Library collections hold.
On Thursday 22nd July, during the morning t*breaktweet, at around 10:30am, I pointed people to an article in the 11 March 1921 issue of the Ashburton Guardian in Papers Past about a librarian who successfully hypnotized a lobster:
The tone of the article was salacious and at points NSFW! Here's an excerpt:
What happened next was completely unexpected and took me by surprise.
One of our followers, @Bibliodyssey re-tweeted our tweet, which was picked up by @BoingBoing who posted it on their website and also tweeted about it. BoingBoing is a popular blog that publishes interesting titbits of technology, culture and business. It's a very popular site (I'm sure you've heard of it!), and their Twitter account has nearly 50,000 followers.
The power of Twitter took over and the flurry of conversations and re-tweets began, spreading like wildfire across the web. We even created our own meme: Lobsterotica. Check out search results for Lobsterotica on Twitter and Google.
Comments on BoingBoing blogpost
There were dozens of comments on the BoingBoing blogpost, from comments about the article itself to someone's own experience hyponotising a lobster to praise for Papers Past.
Effect on Papers Past traffic
The number of unique daily visitors to Papers Past nearly doubled from an average of 3,605 to 6,778 on 22 July. We had over 3000 new people visit the site in a single day. That's massive... for us!
This was, by far, our most popular t*breaktweet and is indicative of the viral nature of Twitter. It proves that if you have something interesting to show people and the right people are watching, it can be shared with thousands of people across the world.