Twitter can easily teach people about social movements: Study

Last Updated: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 14:02

Washington: Micro blogging site Twitter can easily teach people about social movements such as Occupy Wall Street and even entice them to participate, a new study has revealed.

Benjamin Gleason reports in the journal American Behavioral Scientist reports in the journal American Behavioral Scientist that Twitter can actually be a better source of information than traditional news sources and online search engines.

According to the study by Michigan State University academic, people tend to follow people they already agree with and like, and that includes news sources.

Believing that following MSNBC or CNN or Fox News on Twitter, and following a bunch of other people who side politically with those news outlets, leads to being more informed is not documented anywhere outside humanities scholars writing papers.

But if people follow an event rather than specific sources, they may get more insight, if they click on the sources.

Gleason, who has been following Occupy Wall Street Twitter posts, compiled a database of tweets, documenting whether each tweet linked to a photograph, video or website, to figure out how users specifically learned from them.

Users can "tag" tweets for grouping with a preceding "#" symbol, or hashtag. Gleason said tweets tagged "#OWS," for # Occupy Wall Street, contained a wide range of information about the movement.

Gleason said the research offers `powerful implications for formal and informal educational settings, the most critical being that using Twitter can complement formal teaching and learning.`


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First Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 14:01

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