Better answers right now … and in the past

There’s another resource that people don’t necessarily think of as a search engine that can be really valuable.

Last night, I was trying to stay on top of the Blue Jays’ game, the football game, and of course, the federal election.

Lest I wear out the television remote control and/or miss something while flipping, my resource was Twitter.  Now, if I had patience, I could have waited until this morning but that’s not in my personal fabric.  I want it all and I want it all right now.

The answer?

Twitter.  What are people saying at this moment?

Fortunately, there were hashtags available for each of the three #BlueJays, #MNF, and #elxn42.  Each of them are searchable on Twitter.  The results are a mix of fact, fiction, opinion, and news.  That’s OK for a start.

To follow the hashtags, just like you’d do any other internet search, it was just a matter of using Twitter’s search feature.

That will give you every fact, feeling, opinion about any topic!  In fact, it’s very similar to going to any search engine and using the default search.  After doing so, the next step is to filter out what you want and ignore the rest.

Just like any other search engine, Twitter has an advanced search that can be so helpful.

Just like I indicated in yesterday’s post, I’d recommend bookmarking this instead of using the basic search.  With the power behind this, you can really zero in on any topic with just about any type of granularity that you choose.

So, let’s say that you only are interested in the CTVNews coverage of the election.  It’s just a matter of putting #elxn42 in the hashtag field and @CTVNews in the “From these accounts” field.  Bingo, and you’ve narrowed the results considerable.  If CTVNews isn’t your favourite, then plop in another source.  Or, if you’re a news junky like me, enter CTVNews CBCNews and Globalnews in the From field and get them all!  You’ll also end up filtering Jimbob from down the street’s silly comments and jokes.  When you just want the facts, that does the trick.

I find this advanced searching feature so helpful, particularly when there’s a current event that has truly opened the fire hydrant of Twitter messages.  It can be useful too when you’re in a Twitter chat but you’re only interested in a subset of the entire commenting community.  As an aside, if you’re looking for a Twitter chat, check out this resource.

I can’t think of a better way to stay on top of things that are happening right now – in the moment.

But, as my title suggests, what about the past?

My Twitter profile suggests that I joined in August 2007.  What was my first Twitter message?  Devoted to the concept that anything posted on the internet stays there forever, I can search for it.

That was pretty unimpressive.  I wonder if it was a stormy day then or if I was sitting in a PD session or perhaps I was leading one?  Mental note – be more descriptive!

Suppose you just know that you had a conversation with someone and you wanted to dig it up.  Advanced search has you covered there.  I remember back this summer that Vicky Loras mentioned that I have a doppelganger in Switzerland.  Poor guy.  Vicky needs to take a picture and send it to me.

Are you interested in “This Week in Ontario Edublogs”?  There’s a quick link above to get to them all but Twitter also records activity of anyone who mentioned the topic in a Twitter message.

This is such a valuable tool. 

You need to add this to your digital searching toolkit.

OTR Links 10/21/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.