Monday, June 11, 2012

Using social media to build current awareness: twitter

Information overload
As we saw in Week 1, the internet has changed the way we share news and information.  Having made it easier for ordinary citizens to publish information, the internet has grown exponentially over the past 20 years.  However, trying to keep up with all this news can threaten to overwhelm us at times! Luckily, there are online tools help.
This week, we will look at two of these tools: Twitter (Monday) and RSS feeds (Thursday).

Having looked at blogging last week, this is an opportunity for us to look at micro-blogging.  Twitter allows us to share our news and information, but on a smaller scale!  In fact each tweet, or Twitter post, can only be up to 140 characters long.

As well as including URLs in your tweets, you can also attach a photo or a video.  KCOMITServicedesk have a good introduction to the basics of Twitter below:


Isn't Twitter just a way for celebrities to tell us what they had for breakfast?
It certainly can be!  But, you will only see the tweets of the people you choose to follow.  So if you aren't interested in someone's tweets, just don't follow them!
Twitter can be a really useful tool in both your personal and professional world. Twitter allows you to:
  • share your news
  • follow the news of people or organisations that you are interested in
  • follow trending topics or news that is currently relevant

What people or organisations can I follow?
With 140 million users, deciding who to follow on Twitter can be a challenge!
For fun: you may wish to follow interesting characters such as @stephenfry, @miriamocal or @ghook; you may wish to follow relevant organisations such as @draiocht_blanch, @FAIreland or our very own @itbdublin.
For work: or you may be interested in what's happening with @HEA_irl, @EramusIreland, @SpringboardHEA, @bluebrick; or you may be curious about what our colleagues in other institutions are up to, e.g. UCCStudntHealth, DCUStudentSport, GradIreland etc.

How do I follow a news topic?
When we think about search engines, Google, Bing or Yahoo tend to spring to mind.  Surprisingly, Twitter handles over 1.6 billion search queries each day!  It is a fantastic source for breaking news and trending topics (although it isn't necessarily the most reliable of sources).
Hashtags (#) create a context for our tweets and allow people with similar interests to communicate with one another. Whether you are commenting on #Bloom2012, watching Primetime (#rtept) or simply being inspired by a fun trend (#10thingsImustdobeforeIdie), hashtags allow conversations to grow around the things that people want to talk about.

Twitter is a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with news, events, publications etc. from sources that interest us #truestory

RSS feeds: to follow on Thursday!

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