Social Media can be an extremely useful tool for research as it enables you crowd source the relevant information you need.  It is also a good way of filtering out information so that only the relevant information is used.  For example on twitter you can search certain topics or keywords and there is also hash tagging these tools are extremely useful because you can serach for your chosen topic and then follow people who are constantly tweeting about it, by following these people you can then retweet their posts and also comment on them.  By doing this other people who are tweetinfg about the same topic may start to follow you and retweet some of your tweets, so eventulally you will end up with a constant stream of tweets relevant to your topic and all the information required can be gained.

Social Media is also useful in the fact that you can now link different sites together so you are constantly updated with what is going on.  By linking all these sites together you can then try and direct traffic to your sites by using keywords.  By directing more and more traffic to your sites they may become viral so that when doing research there is always a constant stream of traffic going through your sites, this can help with research as there may be useful information on other peoples sites as they are looking at your updates, blogs, tweets and so on.

Another useful way of using social media as research is by bookmarking your sites on social bookmarking websites like bit.ly.  As with this site you can track who looks at your bookmarks and also you are able to look at other peoples bookmarks and see which sites they have bookmarked which may be of use to you.

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