Back in the old days, I thought the most power research tool was the telephone.  In this new social media age, I wonder just what is the most powerful tool?

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the telephone or goodness, forbid a face-to-face conversation are very effective tools.  I”m just beginning to see the power and application of Twitter and other social media tools as powerful too.

Telephone calls take preparation and time.  A Twitter post takes mere seconds to author and sometimes the answers are immediate or soon.  There’s no voicemail and waiting for a call back.  There’s no:  That’s not my department you need to speak to…”  In Twitter there’s a “Here ya go!” and it’s done.

However, as an information professional, I still need to trust my sources and be able to verify the information I receive through Twitter and/or other social media tools.  Research requires attention to details.  The applications of my research results have gone to court, to power presentations by CEO’s and to businesses that are shifting focus in their product lines.   If I’m wrong, those folks are wrong and I can’t afford to be careless.

So my toolbox of Research Power Tools grows.  The telephone and 10 minute face-to face meetings are supplemented by Twitter.  All facts are verified or originate from reliable, trustworthy sources.  The value of experience and the use of new tools make me that much more powerful.  Client who use me have a truly powerful tool in their own Information & Research Tool Box.

Constance Ard February 26, 2009