Is it possible? How can you do it? Why would you do it? Well, yes it is possible, there are definite ways to approach it and it affords a different method of accessing information than offered by conventional static research methods. This research of which I speak is not the same kind of research as querying Westlaw or Lexis for cases and statutes. This research more like mining the great thinkers of your time on a targeted issue, right here and right now.
Instead of “reinventing the wheel” , I direct the reader to Darren Rowse’s most excellent article on this topic over at TwiTip, where he discusses the application for historical research, some syntax assists such “reply” and “hashtags”, inquiry by asking and by searching and a great list of essential tools and applications. Mr. Rowse closes with some success stories that hammer home his point.
Of course, research by asking requires that you follow the right people. But I have seen it work and there is nothing quite like ready access to experts in your chosen field sitting as far away as your keyboard and screen. Consider Twitter to be a compliment to your traditional research methods, much like having a vast law firm of legal experts sitting at the desk right next to you! Just make sure your question is 140 characters or less!