How I use Twitter as Fodder for my Blog

I love Twitter because I'm always reading some fascinating tidbit, and it's a quick way to share interesting items. Recently, I've found that it's also a useful aid in blogging:

1. Favoriting or retweeting helps me collect research for a topic. 

Instead of actively researching a blog post, I prefer to let topics percolate and develop organically. For example, I recently wrote a post on 
5 nontraditional publishing methods. I didn't decide on the topic and then go looking for examples. Instead, I had been reading about nontraditional publishing methods over the past months, and either favorited or retweeted interesting tweets on the topic. One day, the idea for the post coalesced, and I went back to my Twitter stream and favorites list. I gathered my sources, including a tweet I had favorited six months earlier (from the always interesting Maria Popova):

I have a couple other blog post ideas in mind, and now when I come across potential articles or posts that are relevant, I'll favorite the tweets to have them in one handy location. By the time I decide to write a post, I've already mostly organized it and it's just a matter of locating the information. 

2. My micro-blog give me ideas for my macro-blog. 

Tweeting is a micro-blogging platform with an ephemeral life span. Most of my tweets are probably not read by my followers as they swoosh by the twitterstream. Sometimes, I will recycle my tweets in the form of a longer blog post. For example, in October, I came across a fun article about a scientist who hypothesized the existence of giant prehistoric Kraken and tweeted about it:

Later, I explained the news story in more detail and illustrated it in my Illustration Friday post on "Scattered,":

© 2011 Sylvia Liu

3. Twitter is a good place to spot trends.

After following enough people in a certain field, I can get a sense of what people are talking about and what the controversies and buzz-worthy topics are. In the field of children's books and ebooks, for example, there is an ongoing discussion about the relative merits of traditional paper books and electronic picture books and apps. I've been collecting some of these posts in my favorites stream. I briefly addressed the topic in a post on picture book trends, but at some point, I'll be ready to add more to the conversation.

How has Twitter helped you with blogging?

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