Twitter as a source of real information

By JoeAm

I’ve found that my best source of information is Twitter. I had not expected this when I first signed on a few years ago. But it is not just a chit-chat medium.

First of all, there is a lot of information flying around in our news universe, some trustworthy, much not. I can’t read everything, but I can follow people who read widely and highlight the meaningful reports for my attention.

That’s why I use Twitter. It has become a richer, more data packed place to learn than anywhere else.

I’ve stopped following most local mainstream media because they are tabloidian trash. Emotionalized headlines, shallow reports, and content shaped by intimidation from the Duterte Administration. Rappler is an exception, although I don’t follow them, either, just selected writers. Business World also sticks pretty much to news and facts, not politics.

Reuters and the South China Morning Post are my top regional news media. Also World Economic Forum is good at  supplying economic information. Google’s augmented intelligence is impressive . . . but tends to focus on popularity of content rather than the content itself. I can tailor Twitter better based on who I follow.

I don’t follow a lot of people, and it’s a pretty eclectic bunch. It is not just “yellow”, but it shades that way. You can review it on Twitter if you like. I generally follow people who either provide good insights, are plugged into politics, or are fact-based. PCIJ (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism) is an example of the latter. I follow MindaNews and SunStar to get news from outside Manila.

I’ve added a couple of extremely valuable information sources lately as I think they represent the promise of Twitter. They are information based, with political leanings shaped by that information.

These are two people I would recommend you put on your follow lists. You’ll get information up front and opinions to the side. The way it should be.

I’m also following a newcomer to Twitter, my friend Karl Garcia, who reads more than anyone I know. He tends to be science oriented, with a focus on Philippine impacts. If you like knowledge, add Karl to your list. And, of course for global historical insights, the best in the business is Irineo B. R. Salazar. For Filipino historical insights: MLQ3.

If you know of other good information-based Twitter resources, oriented toward Asia or the Philippines, please let us know about them in the discussion thread. If Philippine journalism is not up to the task, perhaps we can build a better network of information and insight by Twitter-sourcing our data.


40 Responses to “Twitter as a source of real information”
  1. Manny Bautista says:

    Thanks for the info on IndoPac & ZaldyTor. I’m also more on Twitter now and follow only a few also. Best


  2. karlgarcia says:

    Wow! Thanks again Joe.
    I follow too many people and it is not always good. One learning experience I had in following too many experts from different fields is one Bitcoin miner I followed want me to invest in Bitcoin, when she asked of my Bitcoin knowledge, I said none, she got over eager in wanting to teach me and it did not end well when I begged off.
    I avoided Twitter because I thought it would be toxic. FB could be more toxic if your close friends and family follow you a lot, until it’s too close for comfort.
    In Twitter there is less shared photos and personal stuff.(I think)
    I am also following the people you mentioned.

  3. NHerrera says:

    Very useful comment on Twitter as a source of fact-based information, especially with the suggested list of some to follow in the Twitter World, including TSH’s prolific contributors: karl and Irineo. Thanks for another gem of a blog, Joe.

    [I have not posted a single tweet in the Twitter World, and have not followed it except by reference to it, such as by comments here in TSH and by reference in other articles I read. I may change my mind. In the meantime, I am happy to piggy-back on the efforts of TSH’s editor on Twitter and his posting of a small fraction of these here.]

    • Twitter can take a while to build a following and ‘feel’ worthwhile. But one can always go there to read and have a good sense of being directly involved in matters as they develop. Nothing more invigorating than following MLQ3’s play-by-play tweeting of the sona and trying to decipher fact from satire.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks for the additional useful info — your note about the refreshing (and brain-exercising) dip into the waters of Twitter is a nice come on.

        I note that considering the nature of Twitter, it is beneficial for more Filipinos to go to Twitter for quality information/ discussions compared to that of Facebook. Troll-like behavior must be lower in Twitter.

        [I myself is not into Facebook. I am a dinosaur for not being in both at the moment.]

        • The convention on Twitter is to block trolls and report them if malicious. I’ve blocked several hundred, I suppose. They are noticeable because they intrude where they don’t belong.

  4. Sup says:

    May i recommend Greg Poling?

  5. I’m an avid follower of you on Twitter Joe. And lately, Ireneo and Karl when I came across your retweets of theirs. I seldom post tweets as I have difficulty in expressing my thoughts in english. I just follow a lot of tweeps who are concern about our country and its people, and just retweet their posts.

  6. Speaking of Twitter break re Ireneo & karl’s thread on the other blog…

    I never got into Twitter since it’s very difficult to do back-and-forth debate and/or discussions; but I do like to peruse thru artist twitter account in general for ideas and just visual inspiration, this being my favourite one: (or Art/Design schools, like that one in Pasadena)

    For Filipino-specific Tweets, I usually just enter Joe’s or now Ireneo’s Twitter and surf from there, maybe it’s just the sample of political Filipino blogs, but if you surf thru Filipino twitter-verse seems deplete of artistry whether from individuals or schools.

    it’s either political memes or religious meme (mostly Catholic). Are there no Filipino artists or Art/Design schools over there on Twitter???

    larger question is if there are no such points of inspiration in the Philippines, and Filipinos are just re-posting political (pro DU30 or anti- ) memes and/or religious memes (ie. “Mama Mary says, Eat your Veggies”), what are Filipinos really fighting for then??? that’s the wider point.

    now I understand why Ireneo would need the break, there’s nothing to inspire. real information isn’t the only problem in Filipino twitter, it’s the absence of BEAUTY.

    • Let’s feature some Filipino artists and Filipino art and design school over there already! 😦

      • … and Why it matters,

      • sonny says:

        LC, now I’m missing edgar already, big time. For precisely the panoramic absence and ear-splitting silence of ARTS in the Philippines, (relatively, that is) I do agree with your complaint. If edgar were around I guarantee, we will hear more than a mouthful, in clear and precise, point-by-point detail the why and wherefore of the artistic plight of the Filipino soul. I would be looking for the what (‘ars gratia artis’ IOW, independence) and the why (‘show me the money’, utility begets financial independence begets leisure begets sharing creativity and propagation of artistic expression). In my opinion.

        • Me too, sonny.

          Arts sometime goes over my head, honestly— leaving me thinking what was the point of all that bs???

          But I’ve always been fan of good design (which to me is simply art at work). beauty and function. I’ve come across Nipa huts in the middle of nowhere over there that was just beautiful, flowers all around, even orchids tended to intricately like bonsai, surrounding it.

          there’s beauty for sure, not much of it, but it’s there. It’s just that Filipinos have been convinced that life is meant to be lived in malls over there. They don’t produce, they simply consume— much of it ironically from China.

          Architecture , as much as I hate it as mostly a waste of money, beauty without function, good architecture, when done with good exterior/landscape and interior design, does invigorate and titillate the senses.

          You guys have this in Chicago and Detroit, sonny, public art cool public spaces, not so much in the West Coast, but we have a butt load of National Parks, San Francisco has a lot now too public art, LA and San Diego not so much, but we do have lots of murals.

          I have an idea, instead of medical missions or balikbayan boxes full of school supplies Why don’t Filipinos in the U.S. fund say a park or public art.

          • Also, as an experiment, during Ireneo’s twitter hiatus, why not start posting Germany’s public arts & spaces, architecture, etc. and get those images tweets going viral in the Philippines, ie. we could have all this, if only we stop wasting our time in malls.

            The best public art/space design I’ve come across in the Philippines was this,

      • Oh, and I almost forgot the

        “The Media Lab was founded in 1985 by Nicholas Negroponte and former MIT President Jerome Wiesner, and is housed in the Wiesner Building (designed by I. M. Pei), also known as Building E15.

        The MIT Media Lab is an antidisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, growing out of MIT’s Architecture Machine Group in the School of Architecture. Its research does not restrict to fixed academic disciplines, but draws from technology, media, science, art and design. As of 2014, Media Lab’s research groups include neurobiology, biologically inspired fabrication, socially engaging robots, emotive computing, bionics, and hyperinstruments.”

        Maybe Mayor Isko can consolidate all those colleges and universities in Manila and start creating and innovating via one design venue like the Media Lab.

        • for example,

          a Media Lab can be situated here,

 (Divisoria street vendors program)

          For what it’s worth, these stalls (to sell goods from) will eventually be monopolized or consolidated from gov’t by dirrrty individuals who will then sub-lease, sub-sub-lease, so get ahead of that and have a line of folks ready to rent out stalls,

          all proceeds should go direct to the city gov’t. no sub-lease. but this is where Negosyo Centers should be situated, in the middle of economic creative-destruction process, don’t let corruption take over, Mayor Isko’s on the right track, nip in bud, nip in bud, repeat, nip in bud, it’s like a rose garden.

          Good ideas like roses should be allowed to bloom, put a Media Lab in there, get colleges and universities to participate where the rubber meets the road. I love market places in the 3rd world, the Arabs do markets the best, I think a lot of it has to do with their buildings and their design, which is pretty ancient.

    • karlgarcia says:


      • karlgarcia says:


        • karlgarcia says:

          For Fashion design

          • Ah, thanks, karl!

            Ayala museum and Filipinas Heritage museum seem together, didn’t know of them. National Museum i believe is where I saw the Spoliarium.

            I think the is what I’m looking for. Never been there neither.


            The Yuchengco Museum opened its doors to the public in September 2005. Its primary goal is to foster a greater public appreciation of art through the finest international as well as local, cultural, historical, and design exhibits and programs. Located in Makati, the heart of Metro Manila’s financial district, the Museum is not only a “temple” that showcases art, but also a “forum” of exchange, debate, and education.

            The Museum was created to house the art collection of Ambassador Alfonso T. Yuchengco, and highlight his distinguished career as a businessman, diplomat, collector, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and advocate for education in the Philippines and beyond.”


            But this is more rich people being rich, being able to afford Western tastes. Ayalas are rich, hence rich art, etc. etc. Micha will have more opinion on this I’m sure.

            IF this Yuchengco museum has a school or some out reach, then this is it.

            Public art and space is more about benefiting the masses thru art and design, not this whole I’m rich, hence my expensive taste glory at my collection, thus why we subjugate you. Banksy did a whole thing about Art being coopted by the wealthy, what I’m aiming at here is Art/Design by the public for the public good.

            But this Yuchenco museum is very interesting & could be what I’m searching for here, thanks, karl.

          • kasambahay says:

            I like going to national museums, the one in UST is one of my fav. I like going to malls as well. throngs of people gives me ideas, there are shufflers and sniggerers, the harried and the harassed, their faces glued to their smartphones, checking twitter and whatnots.

            apparently po, in hongkong and during their breaks and days off, many pinoys congregate and meet in malls and in parks where they socialize and share info.

            and I like visiting cemeteries too, reading obituaries. weird but home to me.


              In there somewhere are remains of American soldiers from the Philippine-American War, many of whom Buffalo soldiers, there were like 20 or so gravestones in-tact from the turn of the century, but you can tell they were not being cared for.

              Graveyards as parks and place to congregate I totally agree with; I use to walk around Robert E. Lee’s estate, now turned national cemetery. Outside of Day of the Dead there, only people there are those who already live there, many time hopped up on shabu.

              I have nothing against malls per se, I like going to Vegas too, but it’s the absence of nice inspiration generating parks that should piss people off, Landscape design is also public art.

            • sonny says:

              I can relate to times in malls. When days are hot, aircon most welcome, watching the world enjoying, free of charge does fill our need to socialize albeit vicariously is good. 🙂

          • karlgarcia says:

            For the guvmint agency that handles design

            • karl,

              I just Googled more on this, and I don’t really know what they do. It’s not a school; so it’s more like another Negosyo Center but for creatives. The agency itself doesn’t really make anything. And everything they purport to do is basically what Negosyo Centers are supposed to be doing now , and at the local level (which is better).

              Now if this state “Design Center” does actually make public art/spaces then I guess it would be similar to what Hitler did wherein every building and statue, public art/space was designed in one place (Nazi Germany had some really cool design by the way), but see this “Design Center” isn’t even doing that, so what gives?

              What exactly do they do?

              Is this another gov’t agency set-up just to suck up Filipino tax payer money??? 😉

              Here’s another one I found also in Cebu,

              it’s all small scale schools like Draft Academy above, and they tend to just do print ads, no ones designing public art/spaces really. Are there schools like this in other parts of the Philippines (i’ve not come across it), or is Cebu the only place that appreciates this stuff, albeit in very small scale right now.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Nothing is built to last.
            Except for the pyramids the seven wonders of the are all paintings.

            Planned obsolescence
            once ruled by Intel and Microsoft, and now by Apple is the norm.
            The auto industry, the fashion industry all needs constant design where you get rid of the old ones by becoming zombies just for the design deadline then it is marketing’s turn to be zombies.

            • You are right , karl, nothing is built to last; and planned obsolescence is truly manufacturing’s mantra (they screwed up when they designed the VW Beetle in the 60s, these things are still running on the road).

              But speaking of public art/spaces, they needn’t last forever just a generation or two; i remember the park i grew up in up north as a kid, and it’s still around now (i’ve gone back several times). Venice, CA the “canals” created by Abbot Kinney 100+ years ago are still around now, now kayakers and paddle boarders and kids with small dingies enjoy ’em.

              Or you don’t need to make something out of nothing , protecting natural physical features is same-same, like dunes here,,_California or say Indian Rock park in Berkeley, CA. i guess for natural features the artist/designer would be God. 😉

              Yes, malls are fun and with AC, but no one’s asking for public art/spaces, with no demand and no artists/designers to make ’em the Filipinos will never have them— Build, Build, Build should be accompanied by Where’s Our Parks!. And I agree with kasambahay, more people should also hang out in cemeteries, to enjoy, rest and to think about death,

              but if shabu addicts have squatted there, then people won’t go there to relax & contemplate about dying.

  7. kasambahay says:

    twitter as source of info . . . aha! foreign sec locsin fired off protest to china not in person to chinese ambassador, but in twitter and in as few words as possible.

  8. LCPL_X re art. True, there is little left that inspires in Metro Manila. Too commercial, simply.

    The cold indifference of so many to that even years ago made me sad. But what can you do?

    Iloilo seems to be the opposite, proud of its heritage, walkable and livable, not just money.

    Color me conservative and colonialistic. But as LCPL_X mentioned Bahay Kubo can look nice.

    And opposed to Munich’s conservatism, there is Berlin, grungy but hip and interesting.

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