Good morning, Columbia! Looking for local news? A search this morning on Twitter of the term "Columbia, Maryland" yielded the following:
@rtwalton: This Thursday, Free all-ages concert (8-10PM) Richard Walton Group @ Columbia Lakefront Concert Series http://t.co/GlHqO7W6CX
@NightmareGraph: Mark your calendars...Our annual Oops Sale is 7/26!#sale #columbia #maryland #nightmaregraphics #adidas #ravens #screenprinting http://nightmaregraphicscom.ipage.com/NightmareGraphics/
@HoCoTimes: One World Coffeehouse is an outreach for Unitarian-Universalist Congregation: http://t.co/8jZLpXFqvj
@HCDFRS: Fire closes Lucky's in Columbia http://t.co/T86HXtAfvG
@LukeHoCoTimes: Update: 13yo #ColumbiaMD girl on bicycle injured after struck on crosswalk by pickup truck - in stable condition http://t.co/zbcc9ZRDos
@suncolumbia: .@MissionBBQ opens doors at #ColumbiaMD location - co-owners are #HoCoMd residents, say location is special http://t.co/JTpOFh5w3V
@NatPancFdn: Join us this Saturday in Columbia, MD to STRIKE OUT #pancreasdisease! http://t.co/Mg2ny4JUIP
Every day I use hashtags on Twitter to search local news and issues. My top searches are: #hocomd, #columbiamd, #hoco, Howard County Maryland, Columbia Maryland . We don't have a daily paper following Columbia and Howard County. We don't have a television station or a radio station. So we have to search through content on the internet like a child at the ocean with a sieve, looking for seashells.
Now, it is very likely that there are far more efficient ways to set up automated searches of these things that I just haven't learned yet. But, at least for now, if you haven't ever tried this on Twitter, you should. It's the closest thing to a hometown newspaper you can get.
Just be forewarned that you'll have to sift out adverts, spam, personal tweets, the occasional downright rude tweet, and content pushed out by bots. I find it pretty disgusting to see that reports of the Columbia Mall shooting continue to be reposted as though they were being posted in real time. Ugh.
Some of the people who read my blog already use Twitter and probably have a sophisticated approach to finding what they need. Others are more comfortable with Facebook and haven't ventured into Twitter yet and/or don't see the point. So, for those of you far beyond me: no snarky responses, I just have gotten there yet. And for those who haven't known where to start: try something local.
You might learn something new.