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Wisconsin Politics and Twitter

Twitter has never had much appeal.  “What’s so remarkable about communicating with up to 140 characters?” Couldn’t really find something about it that really drew me in.   Until now.


In January, Wisconsin got a new governor and Wisconsin politics became riveting.  “What’s going on in Capitol right now?”  “What’s going on in the hearing right now?”  “What’s going on at one of the secret tunnels?”  With Twitter, you have access to information in real time.  You don’t have to wait to hear it on the radio, TV or read it in the newspaper.  I got hooked!

While learning about Twitter, I needed to learn some formatting peculiarities.  Let’s look at a Wisconsin politics-related tweet and dissect it.




  • JLownLaw: This is the name of the Twitter account posting the tweet.
  • #Wisconsin:  This is an example of a hashtag.  Hashtags are a way to organize and filter an area of interest.  There tends to be a theme associated with a hashtag.  In this case the theme is broad: Wisconsin.  Tweets will be published to the Twitter account that’s doing the posting as well whatever hashtags are included in the post.
  • “watchdog agency…are certified”: This is information that the tweet wants to relay.
  • http://t.co/7MOrsse: Because Twitter is limited to 140 characters, hyperlinks tend to be shortened.
  • via: Is usually reserved for the end of a tweet and precedes the name of an information source.
    @retuers: Is the name of the Twitter account that is serving as the source of information.
  • #wiunion:  This tweet will also be published to this group.

Finally, there are two other commonly used symbols in tweets:

  • RT:  Means “Retweet”.  It’s a reposting of someone else’s tweet.  RT preceeds the account that’s being retweeted.
  • HT: Means “Heard Though”.  You hear something from a Twitter user but you heard it in real live, not from Twitter.

If you want to look at the example post live, click here .  If you’d like to learn more about all things Twitter, here’s a very helpful website .

What Twitter hashtags do you follow, find interesting or informative?


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Library-related hashtags I follow:

#fridayreads - on Fridays people post the title and author of the book they are currently reading.

#hacklibschool - current library school students chatting about how to make lib school better and more relevant to the real world.

#libchat - every Wednesday night from 6ish to 8:30ish there is a live library chat via Twitter. Questions are asked and responded to, it's a great way to find other twitter librarians and get lots of ideas about librarianship.

I would also add that the best way to follow hashtags is through the use of third party apps like TweetDeck or HootSuite, way easier than twitter.com.

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