How to Use Social Media as a Quick Research Tool

People often log in to social media sites when they are, well, socializing.  We view our newsfeeds and update our statuses during our breaks at work or when we get off work.  But what about using social media at work as a research tool?

In the last few years, the content on social media has evolved to become much more than teens’ selfies and pictures of adorable cats with poor grammar.  It has become a place where various professionals share information.

Pinterest is an excellent research tool, especially for the visual learner.  Users present concepts in easily digestible infographics and pictures.  Each one has a link to the website if you wish to learn more.  The site also helps the researcher organize their sources by “pinning” them to different boards.

Even Twitter has educational benefits.  These days there is a hashtag for almost any topic; Google a topic to find a hashtag.  The researcher has access to a professional conversation about a certain topic with each entry of 140 characters or less.  Again, small, digestible information with links if the tweet sparks the viewer’s curiosity.  The researcher can even join in the conversation by using the hashtag in their tweet.

Google+ is another place to find organized content from professionals.  Although most of us are still trying to figure it out, you do have an account if you use Gmail.  Like Twitter, Google+ uses hashtags, but you can also utilize the Communities feature to explore a particular topic.

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So next time you need to familiarize yourself with an unfamiliar topic quickly, log on to Pinterest, Twitter, or Google+.  You can truthfully tell your boss that you are on social media for work!

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