Twitter as an Information Source

Welcome Shelton State Lunch & Learn attendees!

The resources referenced in my presentation, Twitter as an Information Source, are listed below. They are also available via the Diigo collaborative bookmarking site: mbfortson’s sheltontweets Bookmarks on Diigo.

Thanks for visiting.

What is Twitter?

Twitter allows you to send and receive information short messages (140 characters or less) called tweets. Twitter users choose accounts to follow, and messages from these accounts show up in a real-time stream called a timeline. Users may post their own tweets, reply to tweets, or retweet (RT) others’ messages. You can use Twitter at, but various functions are also available via third-party clients, mobile apps, email, and text messaging.

How do I use it?

Why should I use it?

Realtime vs. publishing cycle

Writing and publishing books and scholarly journal articles can take a long time, and even though magazine and newspaper articles are published more quickly, they aren’t available immediately. Twitter can provide near-instant insight into a given topic.


Crowdsourcing is “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community.” Twitter allows you ask a question or solve a problem by tapping into the collective knowledge of millions of users.

Expert access

Twitter allows you to identify experts and benefit from their knowledge and experience. In addition to sharing their thoughts and opinions, many prominent Twitter users also interact frequently with their follows, providing users with a unique opportunity to learn from the experts.

Keeping up

It’s impossible to keep up with all of the changes on the web. Following discussions on Twitter is a great way to keep up with the latest news and developments in an area of interest. Using saved searches can largely automate the process by letting us know when information has changed or new information is available.

Twitter as a news information source

The best users and hashtags to follow varies depending on your topic or field, but here are some suggested follows for news and current events.

@BreakingNews (Breaking News)

@cnnbrk (CNN Breaking News)

@Reuters (Reuters Top News)

Twitter as an academic information source

The best users and hashtags to follow varies depending on your topic or field, but here are some suggested follows for students.

@chronicle (Chronicle)

@GradHacker (GradHacker)

GradHacker describes itself as a “collaborative blog and digital round table for grad students by grad students,” but undergraduates may find it useful, too.

@HuffPostCollege (HuffPostCollege)

@insidehighered (Inside Higher Ed)

@USATODAYcollege (USA TODAY College)

@USNewsEducation (U.S. News Education)

Twitter as a professional information source

The best users and hashtags to follow varies depending on your topic or field, but here are some suggested follows for job hunting and professional development.


@indeed (

@linkedin (LinkedIn)

@simplyhired (Simply Hired)

@UACareerCenter (UA Career Center)


The two articles mentioned in the session.

Social media was essential on April 27 (@tuscaloosanews)

“Twitter is one of the best mechanisms that I know of for people out in the field working,” he said. “What’s been happening is there will be a team of folks that have supplies and need to know where to take it. And with Twitter, we’ve been able to instantly update them on where to go because it goes directly to smartphones.”

City officials have also recognized social media’s knack for connecting resources to needs. In the wake of the storm, the city has stuck to constantly updating its Twitter feed throughout the day, notifying residents of the mayor’s updates on the death toll, number of people missing and where volunteers and supplies are needed.

“The impact of social media has been awe-inspiring,” said LaDonnah Roberts, the coordinator for Tuscaloosa Area Volunteer Resources. “The word spreads so quickly, and we’ve just been overwhelmed with how quickly needs are posted and are then met.”

UA Athletics attempts to keep its athletes under control on social media (@TheCrimsonWhite)

“Our policy is, we don’t want guys to Twitter information about our team that creates an advantage for the other team,” head coach Nick Saban said. “And secondly, we monitor guys’ Twitter so that they are not putting information out that could be personally damaging to them in the future in terms of the kind of information that they choose to put out there, but we don’t have a policy where you can’t do it.”

Other Resources

Twitter website. All you ever wanted to know about Twitter (and possibly more) can be found in the Twitter Basics section.

Twitter Guide Book

Collection of Twitter-related resources from the Mashable social media news site. Twitter features and settings change frequently. Follow Mashable’s Twitter category to keep up with the latest news and developments.


Twitter’s Who to follow

Browse interests and, with an account, get suggestions and find friends.


“A search directory of people by area of expertise, profession or other attribute listed in personal profiles on Twitter.”


A “directory of Twitter users organized by interests.”


Manage Archives (Pro and Enterprise)

Hacking an RSS Feed for Twitter Hashtags

Diigo’s Save Favorite Tweets

Evernote: 9 Things to Capture from Your Twitter Stream and Apps to Help You Do It


Twitter Search

Twitter Advanced Search


“Realtime social search engine.”

bing Social

Trending topics, public updates, and shared links from Twitter and Facebook.

List of Twitter services and applications

Wikipedia “list of notable Twitter services and applications.” Also check out SocDir and, for smartphone users, Appolicious, Apple’s App Store, and the Google Play store.

What the Trend

Constantly updated list of Twitter trending topics and hashtags with explanations or definitions.

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