I was so excited to get the official approval on my chapter proposal about online social networking and government policies to be published in the book titled “E-Governance and Civic Engagement: Factors and Determinants of E-Democracy“.  However, the moment I recieved this approval, I’ve started thinking about one of the key questions face any author of such a book chapter: what are my resources that would help me to get the most up to date, accurate and useful information for my readers?

Theoretically, this shouldn’t be a problem for a researcher like me who have access to many academic journals but as I started searching in these journals I discovered the following interesting reality: even the most recent academic articles and papers find it difficult to keep up with the pace of change in such a field! I reached a conclusion that “online social networking” is a topic that requires me to develop a different strategy to get the job done in high quality. It took me several days to think about this problem and then I suddenly shouted: eureka! I’ll author the chapter using Twitter!

I’m supposed to write about a  “online social networking”, a topic that has a new update from around the globe every single hour (should I say every single moment?!) so, Twitter is the perfect tool to keep me in the loop. I’ve started the work immediately by taking the following action steps:

  • I reviewed the list of “Tweeps” I “follow”, and started following Tweeps that are from the domain of the my book chapter topic, this included: researchers, gov initiatives etc…
  • I created a “list” named “Book chapter”  and started adding any new Tweep of this kind I follow to this list.
  • Every time I read an interesting Tweet that might help me with the chapter i mark it as a “favorite” one.
  • And when I have my “semi-daily” reading session, I start it by reviewing these favorite Tweets and decide whether they are useful or not and in which way.

I started this practice less than a month ago, since then I’ve collected several good information resources including new case studies,  fresh surveys and studies and interesting blog posts by researchers or practitioners. The interesting thing here is that I’ve collected these from around the world: US, Brazil, Kenya, South Korea and other countries, having all these perspectives will definitely enrich my analysis.

I can say that I find this strategy effective so far specially when consider the other tools I’m using such as Google Alert. For sure, I welcome any advises from you, just email me, or reply to me on Twitter!


Follow me : Twitter.com/ibadawi

Email me: ibrahim.elbadawi@gmail.com