Book titleLibraries as Dysfunctional Organizations and Workplaces
Publication Begin page167
Publication End page192
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AbstractIn February 2016, I activated the @lis_grievances Twitter bot. The dynamics of the bot are straightforward and can be described in three steps: First, a person sends a direct message to the account; second, the message is stripped of all identifying information; and third, upon passing a minimal list of posting criteria, the message is tweeted. More than five years on, the bot has collected a corpus of thousands of tweets, some safe to publish on Twitter and some not, ranging from benign takes on the library establishment to profanity-laden tirades. Quite often, the tweets invoke feelings that range from pathos to disgust, and sometimes even situational irony and humor as evidenced, for example, in this tweet from June 1, 2018: “How can we innovate when we don’t have permissions to install software?” This chapter examines tweeted content through the online disinhibition effect (ODE), a theory explaining how anonymity pushes sentiment into extreme directions. According to ODE, users of @lis_grievances experience a lack of restraint due to their anonymity and, thus, feel comfortable venting and otherwise offering observations of and comments on perceived flaws in their individual workplaces and in the LIS profession at large. Using text analysis and a new custom metric called the grief index, a qualitative and quantitative examination of the corpus of tweets is presented and explored as evidence of systemic dysfunctional library states.