I recently attended the QAIS IT conference at West Island College. While I didn’t learn much new stuff for myself, I did come back with a way to help my colleagues get the professional development they want.
The craziest thing is it was staring me in the face all along: The hashtag.
What’s a hashtag, you ask? The hashtag is a search tool comprised of a keyword preceded by the number symbol. It is used essentially on Twitter to help you filter the massive feed of tweets that pop up every second so that you can view only what is of interest to you. Contributors to Twitter who wish to make content easily accessible to users use the hashtag in their tweets frequently and wisely. Essentially, it works like a search engine. But the advantage it has over Google is that you will mostly find references that have been put there by people in your field that thought this stuff is relevant.
First thing you need to do is set up a Twitter account. You don’t have to contribute content to use Twitter; you can simply be someone looking for info. Once you are all set, you can go straight to typing your query in the search box.
As you hit enter, you will be directed to a plethora of tweets that contain this specific hashtag:
You can also narrow your search by typing two hashtags in the search window.
This will reduce the amount of tweets to those who contain both hashtags, not one or the other:
It is a quick, easy and cheap way to get professional development ideas. You can even run a subject specific search.
Try it. The next thing you’ll know is that you will find yourself contributing to the Twittersphere, helping other people who, like you, had once thrown a message in a bottle.