Ginger Paque   16 Jun 2010   E-Diplomacy

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Twitter was a focus of interest at the Malta International E-diplomacy Conference at the beginning of June, and the discussions pushed me to explore more about Twitter possibilities before bringing the topic up here. The first thing I discovered is that there is so much information available not only on Twitter, but about Twitter, that if I wait until I get it sorted out, I will never get anything online. So I had best get started!

I have tried to simplify the topics, hoping you will join me in sharing what your needs and priorities are, and how we can meet them. To start, Twitter seems to me to have two basic functions: Sharing information, and finding information. I would like to start with how to find information on Twitter.

The most obvious and easiest way to find information on Twitter is by doing a search on a topic or hashtag (a hashtag is basically a keyword, with # in front of it to indicate its designation as such). The procedure is similar to any Internet search. Go to www.twitter.com, and type in the search box at the top of the page. Or you can refine your search by using http://search.twitter.com/advanced to find a phrase, avoid some words, add a location or time frame, or even a positive or negative 'attitude'. It is as easy as filling in a form and I suggest that you try it now on a subject that interests you.

If you want to understand how the search parameters work, you can read the article How to Search Twitter – the Advanced Guide .

More interesting than a simple search is the visual map you can find at www.trendsmap.com. Try typing in 'oilspill' and looking at the concentration around New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as alternate topics and suggested tweets. The amount of information available is amazing, and is presented in an interesting format inviting further exploration.

Then try a topic that interests you. I think you will be convinced that this is a quick way to find an impressive amount of information. Of course, now you have to organize and analyse that information. I invite you to give it a try, and share your experience here.

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