Great green Twitter feeds for environmental news junkies
Posted December 1, 2008
NRDC recently added a link to the front page of Switchboard, inviting you to follow our blog posts via Twitter.
If you're one of more than a million people already using Twitter, it needs no explanation. If you're not, well ... I'll give it a try, because I think it's becoming a great tool for tapping into news and conversation about issues critical to the environment, both from NRDC and the larger "green" community.
Twitter is described as "micro-blogging." Users type in short updates on their computer or cellphone -- no more than 140 characters -- about what they're doing, what they're reading, what they're working on, or some thought that just crossed their minds. TechCrunch says that Twitter users send a combined 3 million messages (known as "tweets") every day.
If you have a Twitter account, you can "follow" other users, and they can follow you. My brother who lives in Colorado uses Twitter, for instance, and by following him, I can keep track of what he's up to (or what he chooses to share with the world, anyway). Twitter users can also respond directly to one another and engage in a conversation, 140 characters at a time.
Still scratching your head? This video provides a simple look at how Twitter works:
For me, as someone who reads and writes a lot about the environment, Twitter provides a great way to keep track of what others in my field are working on. Besides Switchboard, I also follow co-workers, fellow bloggers, online journalists, science writers, bike commuters and others who share interests similar to my own.
And by following news organizations and blogs, I get an increasing amount of my news through Twitter -- a big change for someone who made a living by committing ink to newsprint for 12 years.
As with any new technology, there are certainly drawbacks. Twitter is "noisy," meaning there's a lot of random stuff floating around, and not all of it is useful. So you've got to learn to filter out the noise. Some people, of course, have a higher tolerance than others.
For environmentalists who are new to Twitter or thinking about giving it a try, let me suggest my own personal list of "gotta follow" green Twitter feeds to get you started. Some are news, some are conversation, some are activism, and some are just random (like my own), but those often turn out to be the most engaging.
News and views
@NRDCSwitchboard: And not just because I work here, either. Time magazine named Switchboard one of the top green websites because NRDC employs the nation's smartest environmental lawyers, scientists and policy experts, and Switchboard is where they share first-person insights into their work.
@DotEarth and @revkin: Andrew Revkin covers climate change for The New York Times and writes Dot Earth, one of the best environmental blogs around. He also writes songs and plays in a band. Who knows where he finds the time. (Also worth following: The Times' @greeninc, which covers green tech, business and energy.
@theoildrum: Focuses on energy.
@Grist: The edgy Seattle-based environmental magazine is never dull.
Trends and tech
@ecogeek: The appropriately named Hank Green is obsessed with "science, technology, gadgets and ... baby seals" and has perhaps the world's coolest green-themed logo.
@greenwash: American Public Media's Greenwash Brigade works to sort green truth from fiction.
@greenskeptic: Scott Edward Anderson keeps an eye on green tech trends.
Writers and activists
@bhcarmichael: Between classes at Oxford, Ben blogs for NRDC's award-winning OnEarth magazine and Huffington Post Green. Other NRDC bloggers on Twitter (besides me) include @apollogonzales, @iwilker, @philgutis and @jschmidtnrdc.
@starfocus: Danielle Brigida of the National Wildlife Federation (which also has a feed, as does her colleague Kristin Johnson) is a pioneer in using social media to protect wildlife and the environment. She was also Ranger Rick's alter ego on Facebook, until Rick got banned for not being a "real person." (I loved that magazine as a kid.)
@greenlagirl: Siel, an environmental writer and activist, is plugged into just about everything green in Los Angeles.
@carlpope: Executive director of the Sierra Club.
@teensygreen: Advice for moms who want to consume more "greenly" for their kids (did I just make up a word?)
@scribeguy: Michael Hawthorne writes about the environment for The Chicago Tribune.
@carlzimmer: Zimmer writes books, essays and articles that offer amazing insight into life on this planet -- and isn't that what the environment is all about?
Fun and offbeat
@NatHistoryWhale: Sure, you can and should follow @atAMNH to see what's up with the museum's groundbreaking Climate Change exhibition, but wouldn't you also like to hear from the big blue whale hanging from the ceiling?
@noimpactman: New York City's Colin Beavan tries to live with zero negative impact on the environment.
@idealbite: Serving up "bite-size ideas for light-green living."
@ecorazzi: Even gossip can be green.
@MarsRovers: NASA's Spirit and Opportunity spend all their time exploring the environment. OK, it's the environment on another planet, but it's still informative and fascinating and could teach us something about our own.
This list certainly isn't definitive, and it isn't meant to be. It's just mine (and it could very well change tomorrow). That's one of the great things about Twitter -- there's always a great new tweeter to discover, and you can pick and choose the ones that you find most valuable.
I'd love to hear in the Comments section about great green feeds that you think I've missed (including yours). I'm @scottdodd, if you want to follow me. And I hope that @NRDCSwitchboard makes your list.
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