How To Cite To A Tweet

Let’s face it: sooner or later you might need to cite to a tweet, as a news source or an attributed quote, or for some other purpose entirely. But the Blue Book or the Maroon Book or whatever book law students use these days probably doesn’t have proper citation style for tweets. So what do you do?
You can head over to the Modern Language Association for their take on how to use proper tweet citation form. There, you will find the following instruction:

 

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

The date and time of a message on Twitter reflect the reader’s time zone. Readers in different time zones see different times and, possibly, dates on the same tweet. The date and time that were in effect for the writer of the tweet when it was transmitted are normally not known. Thus, the date and time displayed on Twitter are only approximate guides to the timing of a tweet. However, they allow a researcher to precisely compare the timing of tweets as long as the tweets are all read in a single time zone.

In the main text of the paper, a tweet is cited in its entirety (7.4.1):

Sohaib Athar noted that the presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event.”

or

The presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event” (Athar).

 

One of my tweets might look like this:

 

Sperry, Martha ‏ @advocatesstudio “Research Suggests Technology Distracts 2Ls Most During Lectures feedly.com/k/A19xpk hmm. Really?” 8 Mar 2012 10:50 a.m. Tweet.

 

Simple enough. And now you know.

 

CloudMagic Offers Lightning Fast Search on Android

Finding the needle in your content haystack can be a troublesome affair. I have thousands of old messages in my Gmail, over 11,000 tweets, and lots of other stuff that I have collected over the past few years and have shoved into the virtual shoebox at the back of the closet. The difference between efficiency and wandering aimlessly often comes down to how fast you can retrieve that bit of information you need for a particular matter at a particular time. That is where CloudMagic comes in.

CloudMagic is an Android (and iOS) application that indexes your Google and Twitter content and can retrieve it for you instantaneously with predictive search suggestions as you type. It retains search history for when you may need to come back to your search. It works with  Gmail correspondence, calendar events, Google Docs documents, contacts, and tweets and sports some very effective filtering tools. It comes in an Android app and browser extensions for on-line, desktop use. And it’s free.

The application reminds me of Greplin on iOS, but falls short in terms of services it can access. However, it is more than a decent start, particularly if you are tied to an Android platform.

Check out the video below to learn more about this great, cross-platform mobile search tool.

Make Hashtags Really Work with Joint

I leave the state for a couple of days and something new comes to town. New tool, Joint, brings a novel perspective on Twitter hashtags and conversations around topics, events or other subjects of common interest. Brought to you by the very fine folk who brought you Lazyfeed and Lazyscope, Ethan Gahng seems to have another winner here. Joint essentially takes Twitter hashtags and creates chat rooms around the tag – giving those interested in the tag a place to actively converse with others interested in the same topic. It also shows the Twitter stream of users tweeting the hashtag – you can tweet directly with the hashtag from the interface, invite the tweeters into the chat, engage in the chat, neither or both. In the left column, there is a list of all of the hashtags you have visited – also known as channels. Once you visit, they stay in that column for later perusal. This column will also show you when there is a new tweet on a hashtag or people in the chatroom for that hashtag. Chat stays inside the application. When you join a channel, Joint prompts you to tweet about it in order to encourage others to join in – there is a link to the chat in the tweet. Check out a sample window (of Ethan’s view) from the “How Joint Works” button.

I find it difficult to follow hashtags. I do use them occasionally, mostly for Follow Friday or when I need to get some angles on a particular topic like iPhones, iPads, or other discreet subjects that are likely to have lots of up to date tweets. But you really can’t interact effectively around them, particularly if you are not following the tweeters and/or they don’t follow you. Joint solves that communications barrier by offering two means within one window to discuss the news. Check out the main directory to find active chats / hashtags and jump right in.

Joint would be absolutely perfect for keeping on top of events (conferences, seminars, natural disasters) and actually speaking with others about and sharing around them, rather than passively watching 140 characters bites flow by.

Just as I have found with Lazyfeed and Lazyscope, Ethan is genius at taking good ideas (blogs, Twitter) and making them far more effective, while keeping it simple for the end user. Check out Joint and check back here with your thoughts.

Oyez! Quincy District Court Now in Session, Everywhere

A novel social media / legal experiment is taking place a few miles and minutes from where I am sitting. As of yesterday, anyone with an internet connection can “see” what is happening in the Quincy District Court. Cameras and microphones are operating in the court’s criminal session and proceedings are being streamed live over the Internet at the new website created solely for the project. The project is run by NPR local affiliate WBUR and is being funded by Knight Media and is called, appropriately enough, OpenCourt.us. The goal is to improve transparency and understanding of the judicial process and, hopefully, strengthen “ties” between the public and their courts.

These “ties” include court reporting. In the courtroom there is an operating Wi-Fi network and a space reserved for “citizen bloggers” to share the news with the Internet via blogs, tweets, even Facebook.

The project is not without limitations. The Judge can decide when to shut the camera off, when the need arises. Or to comply with existing court rules or maintain privacy in domestic violence cases. To protect attorney-client communications, there are “privacy” zones in the court room, free from electronic eyes and ears.

If matters proceed positively, the Project partners plan to extend it to other sessions, civil matters and small claims. Because everyone needs to know what is happening in small claims.

All sarcasm aside, I find this project fascinating. In an age where we are constantly admonished not to tweet or reach out where court is concerned (or even are barred from bringing smartphones and laptops into the court room in parts of New York), the Quincy Court’s about-face is somewhat startling. My short answer is that I am all for openness and transparency. But I do wonder what indirect effects the knowledge of constant, anonymous on-line viewing might have on the parties, their counsel and court personnel.

We shall see.

Words To The Wise In The Digital Age

Modernizing the expression a bit and making it relevant, the caution is well-taken. Thanks to SwissMiss Blog for the graphic, which is the gorgeous typographic creation of Joe Newton

Grasping For Meaning In 140 Characters

Seems anything can be the subject of scientific study. “Augmented social cognition” researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center are groping for automated ways to cull the “meaning” behind tweets, per MIT’s Technology Review (link here).

The problem: users want to be able to scan a timeline to get the gist of what is going on without having to read every single tweet. This is a real problem when you have more than a 100 follows.

A portion of the study has been devoted to developing a recommendation system, not dissimilar to my6sense, which determines which tweets are most relevant to a user based on that user’s interaction with various tweets and with other users.

Borrowing imagery from a real-world stream and it’s eddies, the Eddie project is also working a “topic browser”, a machine aided inquiry into a Twitter stream that should enable the viewer to get more than simply the keywords; to reach the actual “gist” of the stream.

The topic search aspect is more problematic to implement in that natural language searches apparently rely generally on more text than the 140 character space limit allows. Additionally, there is simply such a vast amount information that it becomes logistically difficult to parse.

The method the research team has developed for dealing with these challenges is to treat a tweet like a search query. Tweets are filtered by removing unnecessary terms (like “RT”). Then the significant terms are pulled using the algorithm, and then run through a search engine, in this case Yahoo’s Build your Own Search Service interface.

In essence, tweets are matched with search results, allowing for a “best guess” as to what the tweet means. Given, however, that the major search engines are now indexing tweets, there is a real possibility that the tweet topic browser could return search results that mirror the original tweet.

The researchers anticipate that the topic browser may be online for live testing this summer. I look forward to playing around with this interesting combination of tweets and search in the pursuit of Twitter-meaning.

Hat tip to Resource Shelf

Archive Your Tweets

Do you save your Twitter tweets? Maybe you don’t have a need to keep all your posts about your last meal or Foursquare check-ins or latest calamity. If you primarily tweet your own blog posts, there are other ways to save that content within your own CMS. But if you use your Twitter stream as a business development tool and frequently save or retweet valuable links, you might want to keep a record of the cool stuff you find and share.

Sure, Twitter has a search function and you can peruse your own profile page to see your latest tweets. But, did you know that Twitter does not store your tweets much past a few days to a couple weeks? If you are relying solely on Twitter, you are missing a great deal of your back story. Friendfeed, for as long as it lasts, offers a fantastic means of saving and searching your own content – simply feed your tweets into the service and use their awesome filter-able search to quickly pull your desired link.

But maybe you aren’t so sure that Friendfeed will be around for the long haul and you still want to be able to put your finger on your Twitter content. As I am always looking for the quick, simple way to store, I feed my tweets into Google Reader. You can find your own Twitter feed RSS towards the bottom right of your page. Anything with an RSS feed can be sucked into Reader. Simple, cloud-based storage that is also searchable within the Reader app.

There are other third party means of archiving your content – Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb has a great list of these tools (link here). The one I find most intriguing (but haven’t yet used) is Twistory (link here) an app that integrates with your calendar to show your tweets over the span of days, months and years. You can even use it to feed in other people’s tweet streams, if you are so interested. Another application, The Archivist (link here) offers a desktop option for saving and storing tweets generated by saved searches. Pretty cool!

If you are like me and share tons of articles, as well as retweet others’ great content, on a regular basis, you might want to consider implementing one of these back-up systems. You never know when an old tweet might contain the precise answer you are looking for.

Grammar Tweets

Need grammar advice in 140 characters or less? Check out ThatWhichMatter ( @thatwhichmatter ) on Twitter for helpful grammar hints. Because sometimes it helps to be reminded whether “between” or “among” is more appropriate in your context before you ask the question.

Hat tip to Lifehacker.