As researchers continue to look for new and cost-effective methods to reach the general public, they may not need to look further than social media hotspot Twitter.
I don't know why I didn't think of this myself. Rates for answering phone and mail surveys are low these days, with consumers focusing their free time on the internet and those methods becoming all but obsolete. Twitter is a constant influx of data and the perfect resource for researchers trying to stay fresh.
According to Ad Age, a campaign using Twitter generated 55% higher click through rates than the rest of the effort. That was back in 2008 and since then this method is only growing in popularity.
You have a whole database of willing participants who are trolling the internet anyway. They might be less likely to view posts as explicit "advertisements" or "research surveys." You eliminate a slew of barriers that usually prevent high response rates.
I think one of the biggest problems with this form of data gathering is, like most internet research, the results can't necessarily qualify as being scientific. Usernames prevent true identities from being reached and you can't apply your findings to the general population. However, I still feel like this is worth pursuing for numerous study designs.