In a previous post, I offered some suggestions for beginning to use Twitter as an resource for learning.

I am convinced that the single biggest way to learn on Twitter is by asking questions.

In many ways, you can use Twitter like – or instead of – a search engine. People on Twitter will answer almost any question you ask. The people on Twitter are a community of experts standing by to share their knowledge and expertise. All you have to do is ask!

The beauty of asking questions on Twitter is that you can enter a conversation. You can ask follow-up questions, clarifying or digging deeper. People on Twitter may answer by providing a link to a helpful article or blog post.

People will answer questions based on facts, or they will share their opinions. If you ask once, and don’t get the answer you were looking for, you can ask later and someone else may answer.

So, if you are doing research or trying to understand a new area of study, start with a question. Condense it to 140 characters. Then sit back and wait to see what you can learn from the experts who answer.

To multiply the effect of your question, search for a chat on Twitter and ask your question then. For example, Steve Woodruff and Lisa Petrilli recently launched #leadershipchat from 8 pm to 9 pm EST. To join the conversation, you add the hashtag #leadershipchat to your tweets. To read more about the concept of live chat on Twitter, check out this post.

If you are an instructor in a college course – traditional classroom or online – you could consider starting a chat, either exclusively for your students or open to a wider audience. If you create a hashtag, students use that hashtag for discussion. Make the conversation larger by publicizing the hashtag and chat time to a larger audience.

It may sound complicated, but it can be as simple as asking a question.

If you need to learn the basics of Twitter, start with our White Paper.

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted with permission.