When you discover a new-to-you piece of culture that you want to investigate, say, a new artist or a TV show, it can be hard to know where to start.
Most of us jump on Wikipedia and go from there, but these days I like to head over to Twitter.
Now, Twitter’s search function used to be pretty useless because it only showed results going back a week or so, but now they’ve opened it up so that it shows results going back all the way to the beginning of Twitter. This means you can dig up all sorts of stuff.
First I search for my new item of interest, then I filter the results by “People I Follow.” (You can try it out with some of my recent searches: “Roger Angell,” “Captain Beefheart,” and “Rockford Files.”) Depending on the subject, I might have pages and pages of links, all handily selected for me by people I find interesting.
For example, a search for “Elizabeth Bishop” sent me to a tweet by @elizmccracken about the poet’s paintings. (After a quick glance at Bishop’s Wikipedia page, I didn’t even know she painted!) This has happened several times since I’ve adopted the habit: one little search sends me down multiple rabbit holes.
Try it next time you get interested in something.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that if your search returns nothing, it means you don’t follow the right people or the subject might not be worth knowing about!
You can follow me on Twitter here: @austinkleon