Off-topic post alert!
Another good source is Twitter. With a solid roster of people and organizations to follow, plus a capable desktop client (Seesmic here), this microblogging service can help you come up with some great and timely story ideas.
Noticed how I underlined timely?
Twitter, by and large, is about the present. If you feel compelled to tweet about an item that’s less-than-ripe in Internet time–some say a day or so, some would argue five minutes–then don’t bother. If the urge is still strong, at least preface the tweet with an indication that its expiration date came and went.
Oldie but goody: Blah blah blah
Missed it the 1st time: Blah blah blah
Twitter thrives on the immediacy and freshness of its tweets. Sure, many tweets reference past events, but they usually add to the conversation in some way. Basing a tweet on an article written several months or years ago without alerting your followers to the fact is like opening that carton of expired milk; it stinks and does nothing for you in the here and now.
Worse, it can cause your followers to think that you’re a tad out of touch. So please, keep the Twitter timeline clean. And yes, in case you were wondering, I very nearly based a post on an article authored nearly a year ago but tweeted today. And no, I’m not naming names.
Which leads me to another tip, avoid the shock of unwanted time travel by seeking out the article’s date first.