Using the Net and Social Networking Sites

The stream of consciousness nature of Twitter has created in essence, the largest brainstorming exercise known to humanity. Although much of what is posted on-line is undoubtedly complete drivel, researchers, academics and tertiary students are discovering the benefits of having a super brain, stream of consciousness in real-time, all the time!

To facilitate the process Twitter offer users tools that help track, analyze and sort information. Trendrr is a useful starting point to find users and groups which are active and utilized by many, specific to a subject topic or interest. Perhaps more beneficial to the academic though, is ExpertTweet. This is a relatively new Twitter application developed by the people at Journalistics. It enables users to tweet requests for expert suggestions or services from the ‘ExpertTweet’ community. Thus students and other researchers are provided with a fast way to find experts on Twitter, for free, without having to use a keyword search. The intended audience includes, but of course is not limited to:

  • Event organizers seeking speakers or panelists
  • Reporters or bloggers looking for quick source suggestions, comments on a topic, or other feedback
  • Entrepreneurs and students requiring expert advice
  • Authors looking for sources for a book
  • Consumers seeking expert advice on purchases

The obvious untapped potential of the site is for students writing theses or other academic papers, who want original up-to-date information on any subject. The site is currently being used primarily to source experts in particular fields but that is of course just the beginning, once connected with others in a research field the opportunities for collaboration are endless.

ExpertTweet is simple to use; log-in to the site with an existing Twitter account and submit a request by typing it into the text box. The post is then shared with those Twitter members following ExpertTweet. Good luck and have fun!

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