Using @IFTTT and Twitter to curate material for research projects

Two new projects I’m in the early stages of working on both necessitate engagement with phenomena that are developing rapidly. This poses an obvious question: how to identify relevant material and then archive it in a useful way? I’ve written a lot about the curation process before and I won’t rehash it here. Instead, I want to explain a new strategy I’m using. Every time I tweet with the hashtag #Distraction or #DigitalElites, the service IFTTT automatically saves the tweet to a text file in my DropBox. For those unfamiliar with it, there’s an explanation of how IFTTT works here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 15.13.16

This lets me share the item I’ve found, as well as briefly reflect on it. It also facilitates conversation at each stage of the project, adding to my engagement with the item I’ve shared. In doing so, I hope it will help avoid the ‘graveyard of links’ problem, where a vast archive of once useful material becomes intractable when it lacks context and hasn’t been filtered through prior engagement.

3 thoughts on “Using @IFTTT and Twitter to curate material for research projects

  1. Thanks for this, Mark. I’ve been trying to think through the issue of how to be able to categorise and keep tweets and FB posts for future review. So it is not tweets that I send so much as tweets that others have sent around one event. I started with hashtags but even then anything more than 6 or 7 becomes a real slog…although I am happy to do it… I have been screenshotting them and then transcribing them to an XLS spreadsheet in order of date/time and conversation. Incredibly time consuming. The hashtag I am working on at the moment has 174 tweets. I have done 3 so far. A rich source of response to an event and peer-peer comments, advice and information seeking… But, I have found that tweets are often dated in North American time (not my time zone) and also I have to scroll back through twelve months worth of tweets to get to my event if I ever lose my place (as the event was 12 months ago). Any suggestions for streamlining the process?

  2. Thanks I will. I found your 2012 presentation about curation, which is very thoughtful and useful.

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