April 13, 2009, 8:39 PM — As Network World's Alpha Doggs network research blogger, I've been searching Twitter in recent months for vendor, university and government labs and research operations using the popular microblogging service. While I've found a handful, I'm not impressed: For the most part they're just spitting out press releases or blog headlines.
But hey, it's early and there's room for improvement, so I figured it was worth at least identifying those that are Tweeting and run an update down the road once more of them join.
Among the best are the IT security vendors' labs. I reviewed those recently, noting that this is a good way to get your fill of security alerts and chatter about the latest bugs.
As for more general IT vendor R&D groups, IBM Research is worth a look. This feed is pretty IBM-centric, but kind of interesting in that the Tweets come from at least two labs, one in New York and another in Haifa, Israel. What I've learned from following this stream: Areas that IBM is investigating regarding electronic healthcare records include access control, data-leak prevention, anonymization of data and de-identification.
Other big vendors whose research groups have Twitter streams include Intel Research and Microsoft Research. I wasn't able to find much in the way of university research labs on Twitter, but one that shows promise is the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University. They've been sporadic about Tweeting to date, but you can see the promise here for some real inside baseball about what goes on in a lab, complete with pictures and schwag offers. Other university labs on Twitter include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard University.
A host of government tech labs are on Twitter, and for the most part are playing it pretty straight, with Tweets linked to press releases and blog posts. Not a lot of conversation going on here. Among the labs with a Twitter presence: Argonne National Lab, a large Department of Energy research center; Berkeley Lab, which is a U.S. Department of Energy national lab; Sandia National Labs (started at end of March, but looks promising); Sanford Underground Lab at Homestake in South Dakota, site of proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Lab (DUSEL).
Others we should mention? Feel free to comment or let me know via Twitter.