Future of Design #futrchat follow up


Last Thursday, I co-hosted the tenth Association of Professional Futurists (APF) futrchat on twitter. Since we set up the Profuturists posterous blog, I haven’t been cross posting those chat blogs here. I should have, especially given this month’s topic, the Future of Design. Maree Conway was my co-host and Design Intelligenceserved as the first geo-host. They were simply fantastic, thank you both!

futrchat experience
In one hour, ninety people from eleven countries posted over 800 comments. Participants came from many backgrounds, futurists, foresight professionals, architects, designers, planners and emergent thinkers of all types. Big business like IBM and Cisco, media like Architecture Record and Reed Construction Data, and institutions like American Architecture Foundation, American Institute of Architects, and International Interior Designers Association came. Plus a slew of brilliant individuals.

And we had a blast. It’s hard for me to describe the onslaught of asynchronistic, collective intelligence experienced at this firehose wide-open pace. You simply cannot digest it all during the chat. Now the ebook seems very calm, orderly. and takes only a bit of time to skim. In contrast, the futrchat experience is not orderly; it’s flat-out chaotic. Yet relevant, useful ideas emerge. You can find patterns and threads. It’s a window into many other worlds through links and exchanges. And ultimately, it simply gives you insights and perspectives from so many people that would be otherwise impossible to access without extreme effort.

We covered design in the broad sense of design and design thinking that applies to objects as well as organizations and issues. One of the questions even dealt with economics – Can design shape future economics? 


Future of Design ebook

Here’s the ebook of the conversation. I generated a table of contents and list of links that were mentioned, indexed participants names/twitter accounts at the back and highlighted some of the best comments, although not all, there’s many others that are equally valuable.

You can read the Future of Design futrchat in the cool ebook format (which I recommend as a higher quality reading experience, and regrettably cannot be embedded here) or by pdf below.

Thanks to all that came to the Association of Professional Futurists futrchat. Next month’s futrchat will be Thursday 18 August 4:00-5:00pm ET/NYC; 9:00pm BST/London; Friday 6:00am Sydney. It’s open to all.

More resources
Before the event, I posted a blog about the future of design on the Profuturists posterous.
After the event, I posted a follow-up blog on the Profuturists posterous.
Previously on this blog, I’ve covered design futures.
And I have a number of links about design on delicious that are worth seeing.

Your ideas — 
If you had been there, or if you were there, what would you say about the future of design? Do designers need to be futurists, or do we even have a claim in that space? Are futurists necessarily designing? Is design innovation essential for us to survive on this planet? What do you think?

image: Seed Cathedral  detail, UK Pavilion Shanghai Expo 2010 by Thomas Heatherwick architect
Bourdeaux Water Gardens by Catherine Mosbach 

Download this file


The Future of Disasters – Futurists Twitter Chat Thursday 4:00-5:00 EDT #apf #futrchat

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is hosting its sixth twitter chat on Thursday, 24 March, 2011 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT. hashtag: #futrchat. You can find information about the first five here(education, money, work, transportation, big questions.)

  • Note: due to Daylight Savings Time in the US, London is 8:00 pm Thursday and Sydney is 7:00 am Friday.

We are excited to announce a new APF posterous site, Profuturists to explore, document, and engage with each other beyond the monthly twitter chats. Please subscribe, monitor it for conversations, meet other futurists and forward thinkers, and add your thoughts. 

  • March topic: The future of disasters

This month, a cascade of disasters hit Japan. An earthquake begat a tsunami begat a nuclear breakdown. Each seemingly was more devastating that the previous. By some strange twist of fate, every major disaster escalates into a perfect intersection of terrible circumstances. The world watches, horrified and helpless. Australia, Brazil, and New Zealand were already 2011 victims, while Haiti and Indonesia remain in fresh in our memories.


What can we expect of disasters in the future? Can we anticipate disasters with any level of useful accuracy? The biggest question is: how can we be most prepared?

In other words, can disasters be tamed?

Are disasters all about cities?

Writing about the effects on cities, I said that disasters are a way of life in the 21st century. The cost of lives and property increases exponentially in densely packed communities. And still, small town destruction like the tornado that nearly obliterated Greensburg, Kansas can also capture worldwide attention.


Disasters go far beyond our concern with large cities. The mountains of rubble in Port-au-Prince or Christ Church become symbols, as does the baby that is miraculously saved. We open our hearts.

While the loss of ancient Troy or Atlantis wreaked terrible chaos for their people, no one witnessed it 24/7 on global media. Today, a disaster’s magnitude stretches far beyond a personal or regional tragedy. We all watch transfixed and suffer together. The twitter pictures and tweets describing one person’s struggles spread the experience like a drop of iodine in water. To ease their pain, we share it. The tragedy engulfs the world.

The empathic experience

Our attention to disasters springs from our humanity, from who we are. We fear being destroyed and feel great empathy for others’ losses.

While the modern era celebrated rationalism, the 21st century embraces meaning and emotions. We are each a whole self, not separate parts of mind and body. According to Jeremy Rifkin, the embodied experience and our participation with each other “is the key to how human beings engage the world, create individual identity,… and define reality and existence.”

Technologies bring us closer together, we can see and hear the events, and we experience them viscerally. 9/11 might have been the first globally-shared trauma; Japan’s earthquake is the most recent. With increasingly frequent disasters of greater magnitude, more infrastructure and possessions to lose and far more people in harm’s way, we collectively join the tragedy, everywhere, all at once.

The conversation about disasters shapes the way that we prepare. Who influences it- the loudest voices, most credible, most powerful? How are resources allocated? What is excellent preparation and response? Or negligent response? Why do some places recover and others collapse? Guy Yeoman, APF futurist, posted some useful references.


The future of disasters

As we see these disasters and their devastation with increasing force and frequency, will we learn? What will be the larger impact of Japan’s quake/flooding/nuclear trifecta? Or Haiti, New Orleans, or Indonesia’s catastrophes? What about the recent floods in Australia and earthquakes in New Zealand?

Can we reduce the severity of events or losses? Can we afford the protections that mitigate damage? How will we decide who or what gets protection and what does not? Will early warning systems improve? Will we abandon some cities, admitting they are not fit for human settlements, feeding the wave of disaster refugees? Will people learn to be smarter or more fearful? Are disasters a new form of overly consuming fear? Are our empathic actions sustainable or will people choose isolationism?

At a personal level, do you live in harm’s way? How well prepared is your city or your family? Do you consider disaster risk when relocating?   


Please Join Us – an open tweet chat


You are welcome to join the APF #futrchat and voice your views about the future of disasters. We’ve hosted chats on the future of education, the future of money, the future of work, the future of transportation, and big questions about the future. These chats are fast and intense.  

Jennifer Jarratt and I will co-host, asking the formal questions and follow ups. Please ask questions that come to you, add links (if they pertain and are not promotional ads), and teach, inform, persuade, enlighten, or provoke us.

What do you think about the future of disasters?  

Join us on Twitter by searching for #futrchat. Please use #futrchat in your tweets, and the Question #, as Q1, Q2, Q3 etc.

As alternative to twitter.com, you can use tweetdeck and search for futrchat (may work faster without the hashtag symbol). Or here are two sites where you join the chat.

Images: baby saved in Japan, UK Daily Mail; disasters by country, CRED; Greensburg Kansas.

Big Questions About the Future – Futurists Twitter Chat Thursday 4:00-5:00 EST #apf #futrchat

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is hosting its fifth twitter chat   on Thursday, 22 February, 2011 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST. hashtag: #futrchat. You can find information about the first four here  . (education, money, work, transportation)  

  • The topic is: What big  questions  do we need to ask about the future?

Do we need to wonder about Big Questions?

Initially, I was not a fan of this question for a twitter chat; it’s too unruly, too vague, too, well, BIG, to be addressed in a twitter chat. I discounted its 140 character potential.

Then I read Australian futurist Maree Conway’sblog post. “We need to go to a sort of future space, where we move beyond our knowledge of what’s happened and what’s happening now to explore what’s possible.”

Maree calls this future space the realm of “what if.” Those possibilities, instead of problems which assume something is missing or wrong. “What if’s” imagine alternative futures and open our minds to transformational change. By inquiring about the future in a curious and exploratory way, we see beyond today’s realities.

That’s an exciting proposition that promises to expand my futures images. Count me in.

Jugular Questions About the Future

Arno Penzias, Nobel prize winning physicist, says, “I went for the jugular question.”


What is a jugular question? Those are the most powerful questions, the why’s and what if’s, not the litanies of everyday life. For example, it’s not what you had for breakfast but


  • in 1930, you had bacon and eggs
  • in 2000 you had whole wheat toast and a banana
  • in 2040 you may eat hydroponic oranges; bananas for breakfast are a distance memory.

The Big Question would be: What values and conditions will shape food in 2040?

Big Questions address how things change, the meaning and purpose, the sweep of social change manifested in our lives. Jugular questions matter; they are systems and values, strategic questions about ethics, choices, and consequences that expose biases and assumptions. Who cares and why? Rather than who’s to blame or what’s wrong.


Big Questions create ripples.

Marilee Goldberg says it’s “when a question is asked inside the current paradigm that can only be answered from outside it.” Big Questions break open our assumptions, and create new sets of ideas, ripples in the water.

Maree details avery clear list of characteristics. Big Questions make us think differently about the future. They stir things up. And they are memorable; they stick with us and haunt us.

We’re not talking about today or even this year. What Big Questions should we ask about 2020, 2030 or 2050? What questions open our minds to future possibilities? Try to imagine you live in 2075, looking back to those years.

  • What Big Questions would we need to ask?
  • What is your jugular question about the future?

Please Join Us – an open tweet chat

You are welcome to join the APF #futrchat and voice your views about Big Questions. We’ve hosted chats on the future of education, the future of money, the future of work, and the future of transportation. These chats are fast and intense. I always learn enormously, like scanning futurists’ brains.

Maree Conway and I will co-host, asking the formal questions and follow ups. Please ask questions that come to you, add links (if they pertain and are not promotional ads), and teach, inform, persuade, thrill, or terrify us.



What do you think are the Big Questions about the future?

Join us on Twitter by searching for #futrchat. Please use #futrchat in your tweets, and the Question #, as Q1, Q2, Q3 etc. 

As alternative to twitter.com, you can use tweetdeck and search for #futrchat (as I do). Or here are two sites where you join the chat.

Future of Transportation – Futurists Twitter Chat Thursday 4:00-5:00 EST #apf #futrchat #transit

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is hosting its fourth twitter chat  on Thursday, January 20, 2011 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST. hashtag: #futrchat. You can find information about the first three here . (education, money, work) 

Is 21st c transportation just more of the same?


During the 20

th century, transportation innovations exploded. You might even call it the century of transportation. We not only invented new types of vehicles; we created new infrastructure and new lifestyles celebrating them. Technology transformed from walking and animals to bikes, boats, trains, cars, trucks, buses, planes, and spaceships. I even adore some oddities like dirigibles and segways.

High speed transportation is sexy, no doubt about it. We have a love affair with these coolest new gadgets. And it’s cost us immeasurably. Cars in particular caused new development to stretch further and further from city centers. And they use fossil fuels. Both are now seen as huge mistakes.

Embedded as transportation is with energy and politics, arguments in the US may wage battle well into midcentury. Meantime developing countries aim for that middle class image, wanting cars before decent housing and causing traffic jams that last for days. But that’s now.

We want to talk 2020, 2030, 2050 – what will be our needs, what constraints, and what options will we have for transportation?  What does mobility mean in twenty or thirty years?


Backlash and penalties

Slow cities, car free cities, transit oriented development, walkability, smart growth, density, and so many other urban trends tie to strategies to reduce the influence of the car on our lives.

One massive debate is: better cars or live car-free? In fact, better cars such as electric do little to reduce greenhouse gases unless we have power plants that produce renewable energy.

It’s easy to see transportation as a topic of things; vehicles are objects. However, they are deeply integral to our daily lives, affecting how we behave, our friends, where we live and work, how healthy we are, even our personal identities. Are you a walker, a rider, a driver, a co-user, or a telecommuter?


Transportation 21

st century style

How will we travel in 2030 or 2040? What is the impact of the internet, telecommuting, and social media? How will augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence change transportation options? How will transportation be different in mega-cities, smaller cities, towns, rural, across the globe, or into outerspace?

What new technologies could transform the way that we travel and commute? What is the impact of life safety, security, and crime on transportation? What new infrastructures are worth the expense and trouble to build? Will sharing bikes and cars go mainstream? Will there be a crash or a wimper after peak oil? What aboutautonomous vehicles, robotics, and road trains? And (wincing), what’s holding back flying cars and jetpacks?


Will transportation transform our lives as it did in the 20

th century? Will we become smarter about choices and their consequences?  Will we choose to ‘un-tech’ our mobility?  Will we choose to stay still?

I bookmarked almost 200 links on the future of transportationhere and 140 on transithere

Please Join Us – an open tweet chat

You are welcome to join the APF #futrchat and voice your views on the future of transportation. We’ve hosted chats on the future of education, the future of money, and the future of work. These chats are fast and intense. I always learn enormously, like scanning futurists brains.

Jennifer Jarratt and I will co-host; Jennifer with intriguing questions and I with ideas, more questions, and retweets. You can do the same, add links (if they pertain and are not promotional ads), and help us think more clearly, more vividly about the future of transportation.  

What do you think about the future of transportation?

Join us on Twitter by searching for #futrchat. Please use #futrchat in your tweets, and the Question #, as Q1, Q2, Q3 etc. 

As alternative to twitter.com, here are two sites where you join the chat.

Images:Nissan Torii,Shweeb monorail 



Future of Work – Futurists’ Twitter Chat Thursday 4:00-5:00 EST #apf #futrchat #futureofwork

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is hosting its thirdtwitter chat on Thursday, December 9, 2010 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST. Use these hashtags: #apf #futrchat. You can find information about the first two futrchatshere.

How do you see the future of work?


An organization called

The Future of Work is composed of HR, IT, and facilities professionals. On their website, they make several provocative claims.

  • Work is no longer a place you go; it’s what you do.
  • The future of work will be radically different than anything we know today, or can even imagine. In the economy of the future people will get their work done where and when they need to-or want to.
  • Managing work and talent in today’s dynamic, distributed, mobile economy is incredibly challenging-but highly rewarding. We offer guidance and advice on how to succeed in a world that’s being turned upside down by technology, globalization, demographics, and environmental concerns.

Questions about the future of work

As we were planning this chat, Jennifer Jarratt and I wondered about the future of professions. Our respective fields, journalism and architecture, are both traditional professions that are not sure of their futures, or if they will even remain professions per se.

  1. Will we continue with disciplinary silos? Do specialty fields still serve a purpose or are they a thing of the past?
  2. How will aging affect work?
  3. How do knowledge migration, crowdsourcing, co-creating, social media, and communication technology change the ways we work?  Are trades or professions more affected?
  4. How does globalization of manufacturing and services affect work? And the corresponding notion of localization?
  5. What is the connection between the current lackluster job market and the future of work? Is a weak job market a temporary anomaly or the shape of things to come?

How will we work in 2020, 2030, or even 2050 differently than today? Here is aTED video by Jason Fried, author of Rework, about the future of work, featured on CNN last week. He proposes non-talk times to enable creative work without distractions. I love that idea. Is it realistic?

<object width=”640″ height=”385″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/5XD2kNopsUs?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param></object> 

I bookmarked a few links on the future of workhere.

Please Join Us – an open tweet chat

You are welcome to join the APF #futrchat to share your ideas about the future of work. We’ve hosted chats on the future of education and thefuture of money. Both were exhilarating experiences. I think people learned and shared at a pace you cannot find. If I had to say one word, it’s intense.

Jennifer Jarratt will pitch provocative questions and I will add color commentary. You can add your own colors, add links (if they pertain and are not promotional ads), and reveal your ideas about the future of work. Together, we will make some sense about future possibilities.

After all, we all care deeply about the future of work. Its what we do, how we spend a great deal of time, an identity, and how we create, produce, and build wealth. Are you working in a new paradigm, or are you supporting a current or past way of work?


What do you think will be the future of work?

Join us on Twitter by searching for #futrchat. Please use #apf #futrchat in your tweets and the Question # such as Q1, Q2, Q3 etc. 

As alternative to twitter.com, here are two sites where you join the chat.

Images:hate my job andwork and unity on flickr creative commons

Future of Money – Futurists’ Twitter Chat Thursday 4:00-5:00 EST #apf #futrchat #futureofmoney

The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is hosting its second twitter chat on Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EST. Use these hashtags: #apf #futrchat. 

Venessa Miemis  will join us as an invited guest  to share thoughts from  her recentSIBOS  keynote presentation and FOM research.


The Future of Money 

Beyond the currency arguments between nations, another more fundamental debate brews. You could say that it’s the difference between people who trust the traditional banking system and those that believe there’s a better way based on transparency, open data, and social bonds.   

Venessa Miemis ,Gabriel Shalom , and Jay Cousins developed a short film,“The Future of Money,”  for the recentSIBOS conference  in Amsterdam. In a series of interviews, Gen Y’s say why they feel distrust or a disconnection with the current system and what they see emerging in the social currency space.  


On twitter, you can find tweets by searching for #futureofmoney. Here’s some recent posts pertaining to SIBOS.

  • Venessa believes that traditional financiers and Gen Y’s areliving in different worlds.   Her proposals and concerns: 
    1. Intelligent investing opportunities likeGroupon  local deals but for investing.
    2. Real-time data visualizations for money management likemint.com .
    3. Social network analysis for co-production opportunities that helps visualize network connections
    4. Local currency projects such asMetacurrency .com
  • Gabriel Shalom  comments on responses to the film andthe future of the FOM .
  • Chris Skinner , a financial expert and co-founder of Shaping Tomorrow website, attended Sibos and executive produced the video. He wroteblog responses  to Venessa’s ideas and added a number of other points.

And here’s a few developments since SIBOS.


What do you think?

I’m watching to see what people believe about money. We all use it and by necessity, we each manage it for ourselves and/or for businesses. Is there anything more emotional than the power of currency? And how do you define currency? Economic, social, environmental, political, cultural?

What is money? What does it do and what does it mean? Are you worried about the future of money? Or is it all roses ahead? What drivers could plague money, and cause drastic change? Are we at or nearing a turning point? Is there a significant, fundamental gap between financial experts and us, the regular people? If so, is the gap in communications, worldviews or something else? Is the distinction or gap useful or an us against them battle? Will it be useful in the future?

I wonder if we will see a range of ideas, conflicts of opinions, or will we agree quite readily on the future of money. What, do you believe, are the big issues for money by 2020? Or by 2030? Is it social/community, trust, transparency, or are other lumps or gems on the horizon?

Please Join Us – an open tweet chat

You are welcome to join the APF #futrchat and say what you believe will be the future of money. At our premier chat last month on the future of education, an intensive hour flew by and the results gave a snapshot of many varied perspectives and experiences, like a speed scan or survey.

As we did last month, Jennifer Jarratt will pitch provocative questions and I will cajole, contribute, coax, and retweet the saltiest items. You can do the same, add links (if they pertain and are not promotional ads), and teach, inform, persuade, thrill, or terrify us about the future of money.

What do you think will be the future of money?

Image: Organic Grapefruit onThe Value of a Dollar Project by Jonathan Blaustein

The Future of Education: A Twitter Chat #apf #futrchat


The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is hosting our first tweetchat.

  • Thursday October 14, 2010 from 4:00- 5:00 Eastern time, Washington DC/New York (check your time zone via world clock )
  • Topic: Future of Education
  • Hashtags: #futrchat #apf

 We welcome anyone that is interested in the future and/or education to join us.

Jennifer Jarratt  and I plan to co-host; I think Jennifer will be throwing out questions and I’ll try to spark conversations. If you have ideas for questions, please send them to either of us.

What’s a TweetChat?

For those who haven’t participated in tweetchats before, here are a couple of how-to’s by Content Maven Meryl.net (pt 1  and 2 ).

You can view the tweet chat a couple of different ways:

  • Tweetchat  is a special site just for this purpose.
  • Tweetdeck  you can search for the hashtag #futrchat which will open a column with all the tweets in a timeline.
  • Tweetgrid you can search for multiple terms: #futrchat, #apf, education, future, or any of our twitter names.

I have participated and lurked on a few chats over the past six months. What I’ve learned is:

  1. Always include the hashtags #apf #futrchat somewhere in the tweet.
  2. When you arrive, say hello and introduce yourself briefly.  
  3. Always start your response with the number of the question, Q1, Q2 and so on.
  4. If you like someone’s comment, retweet it so that others see it.
  5. Add links if appropriate, which builds value. People can read these later.
  6. Comment as often as you think of something, at least once per question.More comments are better.
  7. Ask other people direct questions if they say something that intrigues you.

We are building a community and exploring a topic. I hope in the end we have a transcript from Tweetchat to share. More importantly, I hope we learn something together.


Future of Education

A few of the futurists in APF specialize in education and plan to participate. I worked on nearly 100 education facilities as an architect and teach in higher ed.

That’s the thing about education – we all have a vested interest. Education matters. People are immersed in today’s education problems; the key here is to think long-term.

What will be our problems, our needs, our realities in 2020, 2030, or 2050?

In terms of education, are we preparing people for careers in 1990 or 2030? How do we deal with the explosion of change? Longer life spans? Who are the students? What is knowledge in 2030 or 2050? Its speedy obsolescence? New technologies? What tools, new or old? Preparing teachers? Building schools? Engaged and integrated in communities, at home, or in classrooms? Participatory action learning? Global connections? Remote teaching, remote learning? Creativity, practical vocations, science, math emphasized? If everyone learns differently, how do we build learning communities?

Dr. Michael Wensch, an inspiring teacher and cultural anthropologist, studies the effects of technology on students. I recently saw him speak at a TEDxKC event, a treat.

You are the key!

I hope you will join us! Thursday October 14, 2010 – 4:00 East coast US time. Let me know if you have any questions, here or on twitter as @urbanverse.

We plan to do these on the second Thursday of the month. Your ideas for improvements, new topics, and questions are appreciated. We may invite special guests at future chats, including some APF members.

Here’s a few education links from my delicious site.

Images: Kids learning: School Gate, The Times Online; Millau Bridge, Arctic Puppy on Flickr CC

Twitter for Futurists #apf #futrchat #socialmedia


The Association of Professional Futurists (APF) is planning to host a new apf #futrchat. The inaugural chat is Thursday Oct 14, 2010, 4:00-5:00 pm EST on The Future of Education. Use #futrchat #apf; we’d love for others to join in.

Some members asked for a quick intro for using twitter.Here’s the basics.

  1. Sign up . It’s simple; requires a 160 character bio, avatar image, and eventually a background. All which can be changed later.
  2. Build your community. To find futurists, start with my list . Frank Spencer @frankspencer runs a futurist twibe . Sign up. Follow intriguing accounts, people you know. You are beginning to build a network.
  3. Join the conversation. Please let me know you’ve arrived, just cc: @urbanverse  in the tweet and I will see it. Then I’ll reply/tweet back and others will see you. Re: content, I rarely post what I am doing. Breakfast news? Naw. Giving a presentation? Sure. Peak oil stats, a new vertical farm, those are worthy. Post a link to an article or something meaningful about the day, your work.

Not: What are you doing? It’s: What can you share?

As you converse and follow, your community grows. Twitter is a light, loose tool; you make it what you want. You can see others’ conversations and they can see yours – get used to it. It’s all public. Follow whomever you want, theQueen of Jordan or the local bakery to catch today’s specials. 

Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple columns open simultaneously and group people according to interests. This is the “client” tool I use for most of my tweets because I’m working from a desktop or laptop. Hootsuite enables sharing, managing, and analyzing from a single dashboard. Close to half of all tweets are from mobile devices so people use other applications.

What’s different for futurists?  

What is particularly useful for futurists? In a word: Search. While searching is perhaps intriguing to others, it’s the lifeblood of futures work. On twitter, you see real time stories by witnesses and advocates (recognizing the pitfalls of immediacy), articles posted by authors, links via experts (such as my futurists list), and information through news feeds like @nytimes. It’s a bit like RSS or Google with expert guides, who are the people and organizations that you follow. You shape your experience with those follows and your searches by topic. When you open your twitter homepage, you will see in your feed what we (the people you follow) are searching today.


The best way to search on twitter is to build your network and watch for patterns. It’s the most time consuming too. Some tools will help you organize specific searches

  1. For particular topics, try the Twitter.com search box or the advanced search.
  2. Tweetdeck allows you to have multiple search columns open simultaneously.
  3. Addictomatic and Tweetgrid give you a dashboard of multiple searches.
  4. Here’s a comparison of six search services.
  5. This list of 50 ways to search twitter should satisfy your needs.

Initially, you might find primarily today’s news. Many search apps focus on trending topics, which are frequently curious and amusing but rarely useful. I did get a sense that the average twitter age was decreasing based on trends, long before stats came out. But that was more of a casual observation than a research project, a sense because I was in the space daily. To get better hits efficiently, you need to craft your search terms, build a network of trusted sources, and monitor patterns.

The Agora

Twitter is not a stand-alone site. It’s a screen for monitoring and connecting. Darren Rouse @problogger calls it, an outpost. He puts his blog in the center of his web presence; that’s the way to think for monetization purposes. You want to attract people to your site, your storefront.

For accessing the public brain, twitter is the center. It makes sites, ideas, people, events, causes visible. It is the agora, the public square. As a futurist and researcher, I think in terms of open knowledge, (pre)emergent ideas, and a shared community that is accessible on twitter.

If your interest is to influence as a thought leader, then you want to spend far more time on blog content development, follow lists of influencers (different than early signals), engage them on twitter and on their blogs, and track twitter and your blog traffic daily with analytics.


What’s Your Experience?

I wonder how other futurists use twitter and the other social media sites?

Do non-futurists use it in a similar way? Or do you have a different take?

Ok, new users (or current users), does this help? Make sense? I have internalized a lot of the early steps, so please, if you have questions, just ask.  

images: 17 ways to visualize the twitter universe. on Flowing Data.