Twitter has saved me a lot of money. Once I started using Twitter, I canceled all newspaper and magazine subscriptions.  While I am a bit old fashioned and still prefer reading from a piece of paper versus a monitor or screen, I value efficiency more than tradition.

I was skeptical when I first joined Twitter because I was afraid it would be filled, like Facebook, with boorish details of Sister Susie taking her cat on a walk, Religious Ralph trying to convert everyone, or Political Pete ranting about the latest government banality.

However, I’ve discovered Twitter is a very useful tool for keeping me abreast of news that matters to me. It also keeps me up-to-date on latest thoughts and activities in my profession, recreational activities, hobbies, professional acquaintances, friends, and family.

In my last blog, I walked you through the simple steps of setting up a Twitter account and learning to follow people, but this time I’ll share a bit more about how Twitter can be a great research tool for you.

Almost any organization that produces content in the form of videos, articles, photographs, or other information make that information available by Tweeting about it and giving you access to it.

 Following: When you are on your home page of your Twitter account, go to the top of the page, find the “search” option, and type in any group you want to follow. It will give you a selection, but you must choose to “follow” that group.

You will start getting Tweets from that group that almost always will have a link to an article or video embedded in it. Just click on that article and there you are.

Here’s a Tweet from CBS that I picked up 29 minutes ago and a link to their report. All I have to do is click on the blue link and it takes me straight to their report.

 CBS News ‏‪@CBSNews


JUST IN: Feds target retired general in Iran leaks probe, CBS News confirms ‪ 


If I want to target some topic specifically, I use a hashtag- #.

Hashtags are handy little tags stuck in front of words that helps you find any and all Tweets related to that. For example, you can go in your search bar and type #Kansas and find any thing posted by others that put #Kansas in their Tweet. The following Tweet has a link to a photograph of a Kansas storm:


Shannon Boone ‏‪@ShayChic


Amazing ‪#Kansas sunset! ‪


Then as you write a Tweet that you have some information in you think people would be searching for, put a hashtag in front of a word you think others might be looking for so it will help them find your information.


Keeping Track of Articles:

I used to have file cabinets filled with articles and research.  Now, I use one of the handiest management programs on the net: Evernote.  You can Evernote for free, but I chose the $45 a year package because of all the extra features. Once you get it, use the tutorials to walk you through it- it is an amazing program to help you keep track of life from any computer, iPad, iPhone, or other device connected to the internet.

One of the coolest tools of Evernote is the Web Clipper.  You have to download that extra add on after you download Evernote, but once you have it, it helps you keep track of your information.

For example, any article I’m on and want to save, all I have to do is find the Evernote Icon on my toolbard and “clip” the article. It takes the article to Evernote where I can then go file it in my own desired folder.  Evernote operates on cloud technology so that means any article or information I’ve saved I can access from anywhere to my information. Again, read the easy tutorials to help you maximize this amazing helper.

So while it might be called “social media”, Twitter has replaced my trips to the library and file cabinet. I haven’t used the dewey decimal system in ages, but with a few clicks can access the latest reports on flyfishing in the Rockies or the breaking news that is happening right now.

And, please, follow me @rickmcnary. Follow the nonprofit I work with @outreachprgm.

And let me know when you’re on; I’d like to follow you, and your group, too