Anoles In The Twitterosphere

Just found this on Twitter.

People often stop me on the street to ask “how do you come up with so many great topics to post on?” The answer I give is one simple word: “Twitter.” If you want to stay on top of the anole world, there’s no better way than to see what Anole Nation is tweeting. Try it yourself and you’ll see that most new anole papers get mentioned, as well as news of all sorts, and all kinds of great photos and other anolillenea.

And other great stuff, too, like this great curse: “I hope you accidentally swallow an anole and choke on it.” As well as many touching human interest stories, such as this one: “Good Christ! I just went to get the mail from the box and a stupid Knight Anole lizard over a foot long jumped on my arm before bolting.”

How do I do it? I simply search on “anole” and “anolis”. There are some drawbacks, though. For example, it seems a lot of people don’t know how to spell “alone” or–I’m guessing here–“ahole”. So a bunch of the tweets don’t make a lot of sense. And how could I forget? All the tweets about the comic book character Anole, who’s exploits seem to be drawing an ever greater audience (as befits the world’s first gay superhero).

Detour on the information superhighway

And then there’s the bane of my twitter-life: some Japanese tweeters have incorporated “anole” or “anolis” into their twitternames, so periodically there’s a flood of banal tweets in Japanese to scroll through (ok, you got me, I don’t really know that they’re banal because, after all, they’re in Japanese–who knows, maybe they are important insights on anole taxonomy and biogeography). Plus, recently a dude named Ben with his address at “@anole” has started tweeting a ton of irrelevancies.

And, of course, there is some information that you’d rather not know about, like the oft-retweeted link to a disgusting video of a teenager biting a live anole in half and eating it.

It’s a brave new cyberworld out there, but if you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the ever changing anolosphere, Twitter’s the way to go. Unless there’s some new thing that’s better.

About Jonathan Losos

Professor and Curator of Herpetology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University. I've spent my entire professional career studying anoles and have discovered that the more I learn about anoles, the more I realize I don't know.

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