Lately my income has derived from research. I’ve been prospecting funding opportunities, and crawling around and behind and within social media. I’ve learned a few things, simple and highly effective. Here’s another list for you:
1. LinkedIn is a great place to confirm spelling of people’s names and their job titles.
2. I’ve found out about two deaths on my Facebook page. We’re not talking Donna Summer, either; we’re talking people I knew. This has nothing to do with research, you’re right, but it was a disturbing milestone for me. It tells me that just like television, there is no turning back. Facebook and its equivalents have been absorbed.
3. Speaking of which: Facebook is a pretty reliable source to get an email address. And find out if a person is in London or home, say.
4. I like Blekko. I have yet to create my own slashtag, but that’s forthcoming.
5. Pinterest has made me pine for a big-screen Mac.
6. Any search limited to only “edu” sites is bound to be more informative and focused, unless it’s an out-of-date professor’s web page.
7. Only today I had an interesting experience: I pulled an obituary instantly off Yahoo, after getting nothing from Google. Google’s been letting me down, friends. Even its “verbatim” gizmo isn’t foolproof.
8. Twitter is a good place to locate an expert or two. In haiku, say.
9. I have a theory that billionaires are hiring people to scrub their history from the web. Yawn. You can tell I’m not a particularly original conspiracy theorist.
10. This was taught in an MS-Office workshop I took, and it’s most effective: if you are searching for an answer to a software question, run an advanced search in Google, limited to microsoft.com. Don’t know where Advanced Search is? Just click on the gadget button to the right of the screen, which comes up after you’ve typed in your first search. Once you’re in Advanced Search, scroll down to “site or domain,” and whatever you enter their will limit the search to that area. You can also do the opposite, block sites from your search; but that will be for another day. I’ve got Paul Simon to listen to.