How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper?

I attended a MELS symposium last week where all the presentations were available via links through twitter. For some reason, I have been very slow to get on the Twitter bandwagon- just don’t have that much to say in 140 characters or less I guess (If I do have something to say, I usually like to use a lot of words to say it). Still, I am slowly learning the usefulness of the tweet in terms of keeping up with my profession as well as promoting my own work. Case in point: while a dialogue was happening in real time, there was also a professional conversation going on via Twitter.

So what if someone says something brilliant, has a brilliant insight that emphasizes your point and you want to cite one of your colleague’s tweets in your paper?

Look no further- the Atlantic has the answer!

See on Scoop.itipadyoupad

There are rules for these sorts of things. They are how civilizations are built and maintained.

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Ok Fine. I’ll Tweet. Or at least I’ll lurk your tweet..

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 11.00.17 AMI joined Twitter years ago, after attending a conference that lauded its potential for professional connection. I signed up, trolled around for a while, got confused by all the @s and the #s and promptly forgot about it, only checking it once every few months. Then my twitter account got hacked and I had to change my password and it was too difficult and too time-consuming (it would have taken me all if five to ten minutes to figure out my password- can’t possibly spare the minutes!) for me to bother.

I don’t know why I’ve had such a block with this social media. Perhaps it was because I didn’t want to have to go check another site. I mean, I already had all my RSS feeds plus Facebook and now linked in. How many social media sites does one have to be on anyway?

Another reason, is that though tweeting is all about brevity, the people who do tweet seem to do it with a frequency that rivals rabbit reproduction rates (try saying that 5 times). It was daunting- I didn’t have that much to say or share.

Then, last year, Mr. P. wrote a guest blog post on this here blog. I dutifully, edited it and read it, but the idea that I could use twitter not just as a method for communicating with my peers, but as a research tool did not sink in ( sometimes I am slow on the uptake).

Now, my slow awakening to twitter has been precipitated in the last few days by the imminent demise of igoogle. At the risk of sounding like a tech dinosaur, igoogle is (but soon won’t be, going the same way as the google reader and the dodo) a page where you can add as widgets,  the sites that you most frequently visit. On my igoogle page (which was my default home page on my browser) I had my email, my RSS feeds, the weather, my calendar, and my newsfeeds, which included NY Times most emailed, CBC news, etc. I loved my igoogle page. I could scan all this stuff, check out the things that interested me  and then move on.

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But igoogle is on its last legs and I needed to find an alternative. I opted for Netvibes, another app that allows you to gather all your important widgets in a visual display (aesthetically not so pleasing as igoogle, but beggars can’t be choosers as the saying goes):

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One of the default widgets they had on the page when I signed in was, lo and behold, my twitter feed (how they knew how to access it is a bit of disturbing question, but I can only imagine it is because I use the same email for both). It came to me then that my main problem with twitter- that I would have to actually go to the twitter site to view the feed – was now solved (I know- I could have done this long ago). I could scan my twitter feed along with my news feed and not be more bothered than that. Only problem is, I had neglected my feed for so long I was only following a few  people. And also, how the heck do the hashtags work?

So. I spent a few minutes bulking up the people I follow. I also tried searching different hashtags. Here is the results of one of my searches:

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 10.52.40 AMI clicked on the first link to see if it was helpful, and lo and behold, a whole new way of viewing information popped up at me:

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So far so good. I feel like a whole new batch of innovative ideas just arrived at my doorstep!

By the way, there are many apps on the iPad that allow you to view all of your social media , from Facebook to the NY Times in one place. Flipboard.

Message In A Bottle: Mr. P Tweets about Twitter

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.

Of course.

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.

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As you hit enter, you will be directed to a plethora of tweets that contain this specific hashtag:

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You can also narrow your search by typing two hashtags in the search window.

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This will reduce the amount of tweets to those who contain both hashtags, not one or the other:

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It is a quick, easy and cheap way to get professional development ideas. You can even run a subject specific search.

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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.