Twitter is not just a social media site where users post tidbits of information in 140 characters or less. It can also be used as a helpful tool for students who need to prepare a paper. Here are a couple dozen (or so) ways Twitter can help your essay writing:
1. Get topic approval or disapproval from your instructor instantly.
2. Ask questions or get clarification about your topic or the angle you have selected for your paper.
3. Let your instructor know when you have completed your paper by sending a Tweet.
4. Teachers can share recommended resources for research by tweeting them to the class.
5. A number of historical figures are on Twitter. If you need to gather biographical information, see if the person you are researching is on there and take advantage of this resource.
6. Check out local organizations. They also have a presence on Twitter. The piece of information you need may be in their feed.
7. Previous conversations are an excellent research tool. Look over them to pick out the important points of what was discussed. They can help when it’s time to write an essay.
8. Following a news stream can help students keep on top of current events. This information can help to provide material for certain types of essays.
9. Government officials at local, state and national levels often have their own Twitter feeds. Following them can provide research material for essay writing.
10. Authors, scientists and researchers in various fields are on Twitter. Use the social networking site to make contact to ask questions or request an interview.
11. Ask questions if you get stuck. Post your question on Twitter, either to your class or to all of your followers to see how they would approach your topic. See how the Twitterverse response. You may be surprised with the creativity your fellow users come up with.
12. Start your own discussion about your topic. If you can’t find any relevant discussions about your topic, start a new one.
13. Search for blogs related to your topic. Bloggers discuss, debate and refer to just about any topic you can imagine. They also post links to sites that may help you with your essay. Use the power to Twitter to discover them.
14. Visit archive and library Twitter feeds. Now that several libraries are on Twitter, you can follow them. Ask for the information you need when you get stuck and can’t find the information you need about a topic.
15. Check out corporate Twitter feeds to learn about a company you are researching. Do you need to learn something about a particular corporate entity? Check out its Twitter feed. If you can’t find what you need to know from the company website, ask a question. This may be the quickest way to get the information you need.
16. If you are researching a particular geographic area, connect with local residents through Twitter. Find out about local history, events, customs, and weather.
17. Get encouragement to keep going if you hit a wall when you are writing your essay. It happens to the best students. Everyone gets challenged by a topic that gets away from them or they can’t seem to find an angle for. Sharing your writer’s angst with others can help.
18. Use your tweets as a way to bookmark information as you conduct research for your essay online. You can check out the items you have found in your timeline when you are ready to organize them.
19. Use it to evaluate your sources of information. Not everything you find online is quality information. Use this social media site to separate out the best sources from the ones you should disregard.
20. Ask your classmates for their opinion about the assignment you are working on. Twitter makes it easier for more reserved students to share their ideas.
21. Find results of research studies for your paper. These valuable pieces of information may be just the thing you need to complete your work.
22. Reach out to an expert for a quote or some insight on your topic. If you ask politely, most people are quite willing to share what they know.
23. Collaborate with other students conducting research on the same topic. Start your own hashtag so you can keep track of the group’s findings.
24. Visit organizations’ Twitter feeds to gather information on your topic. You can find resources at the local, state and federal levels.
25. You can even cite tweets in research papers if you wish. This should be reserved for special cases where the tweet is directly related to your subject matter. You will be treating it like a quote and you will need to cite it correctly. The proper format includes the person’s last name, first name and user name (in brackets). You would then include the tweet “in quotes,” followed by the date and time.