If you don’t use Twitter much, it may strike you as a bit odd that this communication tool limited to 140 characters generates an average of 500 million Tweets per day. I often get asked how I use Twitter. Although not a heavy Tweeter, I have found a few really cool ways to use it:
1. Live Tweeting
I recently attended a conference which brought together techies from around the world to share ideas on how to use mobile technology as an accessory to aid people with disabilities. (The tech world refers to this as “accessibility”) By tweeting using the hashtag that the organizers adopted for attendees to use while tweeting about the conference (#m-enabling2014), I was able to share observations with other attendees what we were learning. It was also an easy way to give public thanks to great speakers.
2. Breaking Local News
Every once in a while something happens either far away or close to home that I need quick information about. During recent heavy rains, I wanted to know whether a particular road was passable or had flooded over. By popping the name of the street and town into the search box on Twitter, I found very recent tweets from others indicating that the road had indeed flooded over. This was not yet picked up by local news, but by checking on Twitter I had freal-time information.
3. Finding Thought Leaders
While certainly not all thought leaders are on Twitter, many are. And even those who are not on Twitter might find their work “retweeted’ by others. For example, by searching on the hashtag #accessibility I can find tweets from experts at IBM, Microsoft and App developers who are creating technology applications that enhance the lives of users with disabilities. Thought leaders will also publicize common hashtags to better enable their communities to share industry developments. K-12 educators can find a wealth of information in Tweets using such Hashtags as #K12, #stem and #edtech. Of course, there isn’t much in 140 characters, but many tweets contain links to fuller content. It takes a little trial and error – but a wonderful way to quickly find great resources.
Even if you have no interest in Tweeting, sign up and see what you can find! You will likely find it an amazing research and communication tool