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Twitter: An Introduction For Researchers


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This slideset was given to researchers wanting an introduction to twitter at La Trobe University. It has a accompanying handout available at:

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Twitter: An Introduction For Researchers

  1. 1. CRICOS Provider 00115M Twitter: An Introduction For Researchers A Research Smart Session May 2014 Kate Freedman, Faculty Librarian
  2. 2. 2La Trobe University Session Outline • Introduction to Twitter ̶ What is Twitter • 4 Myths about Twitter- Shattered • Why you should use Twitter • How to use Twitter ̶ Tips about getting started ̶ Creating an account ̶ Tips for writing the perfect tweet • Final Tips and Further Resources “This class will look at why twitter is more than just what people are eating for lunch, and how it can be useful in disseminating scholarly information and increasing your citation count. It will cover some of the steps on how to begin using twitter, how to find people to follow and what makes a good tweet.”
  3. 3. 3La Trobe University What is Twitter? • Twitter is about Communication and Connecting. Conversations are spontaneous and casual. • It is made up of short messages (140 characters) known as tweets, augmented by hashtags (#), which serve to group tweets and make them easier to find and follow conversations by turning them into links • You can tweet from a phone, a tablet, a computer, a laptop, even by sms. • Tweets are no longer restricted to text; they can contain links, images or video.
  4. 4. 4La Trobe University What is Twitter? Engagement and reciprocity are defining and built-in features of the Twitter platform the @ sign indicating location and response, invocation, evocation, address, acknowledgement and recognition. – Ernesto Priego1 1
  5. 5. 5La Trobe University 4 Myths about Twitter- Shattered Myth 1: I don’t have time to tweet OR But you need to spend hours each day on Twitter… • How much time you spend on twitter is up to you ̶ You can monitor it all day, or spend 5 minutes on it. • Spend the time you need to get the outcome you want… “You don’t need a lot of time to type 140 characters. It’s actually quite liberating since it’s not impolite to be brief. Do not feel compelled to “read” all the tweets you missed or to tweet everything that comes to mind”- Vineet Arora1 1
  6. 6. 6La Trobe University 4 Myths about Twitter- Shattered Myth 2: It’s just people saying what they had for lunch!!… • Yes- if you are a celebrity, or have so many followers that meaningful conversation is not possible ̶ Twitter is about the conversation There is simply nothing like Twitter that I have ever regularly engaged with. For me, it’s a real-time news service letting me get instant information, news, events and more in near real time. I feel that we are in a shift and that Twitter is setting itself up to be the next major broadcast mechanism.- Ben Bajarin, Time Magazine1 1
  7. 7. 7La Trobe University 4 Myths about Twitter- Shattered Myth 3: It’s a waste of time… It’s not work… OR It’s not academic enough… It doesn’t belong in Higher Education… • It is as academic as you make it ̶ If you follow non-academic, scholarly or related accounts it will not be helpful In the end, the value of Twitter for academics is what you make of it. So, can academics manage without Twitter? Of course they can. But the better question might be “What can academics manage with Twitter?” I find thinking about that question to be much more exciting.” - Carole McGranahan1 “My experience with the germ of an idea shared as a Tweet at an academic conference that became a blog post, then a series of blog posts, and (eventually) a peer-reviewed article is just one example of the changing nature of scholarship. From where I sit, being a scholar now involves creating knowledge in ways that are more open, more fluid, and more easily read by wider audiences.” – Jessie Daniels2 1 2
  8. 8. 8La Trobe University 4 Myths about Twitter- Shattered Myth 4: There is no point as I don’t know anyone… • You will be surprised at who you DO know • Twitter is a great leveller; ̶ It provides the chance to engage with people you don’t know, including researchers from around the globe and leaders in your field. • La Trobe University has many twitter accounts- groups and individuals.
  9. 9. 9La Trobe University Why Should You Use Twitter 1. Connect With Peers ̶ It can lead to real life meetings ̶ Collaboration opportunities o Publishing opportunities o Speaking opportunities ̶ It can ease the ‘alone in the research’ feeling. As a PhD student one works for a long time on a single topic and document, and it is easy to fall into very low levels of confidence. "Why am I doing this?" "Who cares about it apart from me?" The responses I have received to my sharing links to my own and others' research work, and to my academic conferences live-tweeting has been incredibly helpful for me to keep the faith that what I do matters to others. – Ernesto Priego1 1 and tweetyourthesis-or-academic-social-networking-empowe
  10. 10. 10La Trobe University Why Should You Use Twitter 2. Keep Up to Date ̶ On Twitter the information comes to you.
  11. 11. 11La Trobe University Why Should You Use Twitter 3. Push and Share Information (aka Increase Your Citation Count) “Highly tweeted articles were 11 times more likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted articles” Eysenbach, G 2011, “Can tweets predict citations? metrics of social impact based on twitter and correlation with traditional metrics of scientific impact”, Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(4):e123, doi: 10.2196/jmir.2012 • Push- link to your publications, presentations, blog posts (gain readers, exposure, citations) • Share- link to other people’s publications, presentations, blog posts etc..
  12. 12. 12La Trobe University Case Study: The Impact of Social Media on the Dissemination of Research: Results of an Experiment • Melissa Terras undertook a study to see what happens when you tweet a paper held in an Open Access University Repository. • research-by-melissa-terras/
  13. 13. 13La Trobe University “This has only been part of what I do online — I have more than 2,000 followers on twitter now and it has taken me over three years of regular engagement — hanging out and chatting, pointing to interesting stuff, repointing to interesting stuff, asking questions, answering questions, getting stroppy, sending supportive comments, etc. — to build up an “audience” (I’d actually call a lot of you friends!).” …. If you want people to find and read your research, build up a digital presence in your discipline, and use it to promote your work when you have something interesting to share. It’s pretty darn obvious, really: If (social media interaction is often) then (open access + social media = increased downloads). What next? From now on, I will definitely post anything I publish straight into our institutional repository, and blog and tweet it straight away.” – Melissa Terras • When you put accepted manuscripts into the repository (Research Online) they are given a permanent URL that you can use to tweet and link to etc… The repository team can also create for you a profile page that you can use as a landing page for your different social media outlets, and bibliography. Case Study: The Impact of Social Media on the Dissemination of Research: Results of an Experiment
  14. 14. 14La Trobe University Getting Started on Twitter: Before You Start • Don’t go on twitter just to be on twitter. Go on there with a purpose, and an interest! • Remember everything is public!, behave professionally, be prepared for vigorous discussion, consider confidentiality etc.. • If you want to have more control over who sees your tweets have a private account, but it will limit your ability to interact with and ‘meet’ other people on twitter. People cannot retweet you (limits publicity), your tweets will not show in a search (conference exposure) and you have to approve a new follower. • If you are concerned about someone taking your views on as your employers, write a disclaimer into your profile- eg: views are my own and do not reflect those of my employer
  15. 15. 15La Trobe University Getting Started On Twitter: Before You Start Picking A Username: • Pick a username that reflects you, your interests or what you will be tweeting about. @glwp2304927slcj++__w30usxfna is not a good idea. Your Profile is Important • Your profile is important. It is where you show people what they can expect from your Tweets and why they should follow you. Add a photo, short description and background image to give the world a taste of your personality. • Don’t be an egg! It has become associated with spam accounts.
  16. 16. 16La Trobe University Getting Started On Twitter: Before You Start • When you follow people they get a message alerting them to this fact: • usually they would then click on your profile and make a decision within a couple of seconds as to whether to follow you back. • the decision to follow you back or not will be made based on your picture, your bio, and your recent tweets, so it’s good to get these in place prior to following anyone at all.
  17. 17. 17La Trobe University Image area Creating A Twitter Account • It really does only take a few minutes. • After this page it will ask you to follow people- celebrities, news accounts and others. • You can skip this or select 5 random people to follow, and then unfollow them later. • You will be sent an account confirmation email. • You can change your username at anytime, but remember this is how people get to know you. • After creating your account, double check your privacy and email settings.
  18. 18. 18La Trobe University Let’s Follow Some People • The best and easiest way to follow people is find one person who you want to follow who shares your interests and follow the people that they follow. • Don’t feel like you are being rude if you don’t follow people back- you do not have to. You also don’t need to ask permission to follow anyone. (You can block people if you think they are spammers or you do not want them following you). • Find People at places like Google,,, twitter search, on their blog pages etc… • Use Lists to find people: @latrobe lists La Trobe Twitter Accounts to Follow: • @Latrobe • @Latrobenews • @Latrobe_HDR • @ltu_bel (FBEL) • @historylatrobe • @MudFReaCk (Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre) • @latrobenewsbgo (Bendigo) • @LTUHumanities • @LTULibrary • @Latroberesearch (Research Services)
  19. 19. 19La Trobe University Tweeting Glossary • Don’t be afraid to lurk, or interrupt a conversation. ̶ The best ideas and conversations come from people joining into conversations. If you want to talk privately to someone use a direct message. • Start a conversation with someone by replying to their Tweet. If you see an interesting Tweet, add your opinion by clicking the reply icon. • A note on replying. • If you start your reply with @joblogs… it will only be seen by people who follow BOTH you and @joblogs. • To make sure everyone can see it, start your reply with another word or just a full stop, e.g.: .@joblogs reply text.
  20. 20. 20La Trobe University Tweeting Glossary • RT: Retweeting is a lot like forwarding an email — you’ll send along someone else’s Tweet to all of your followers. If you add a comment or change the original tweet it becomes a MT (Mentioned tweet). • Favouriting sends a brief, positive notification back to the author that you liked their Tweet. Click the star to mark a Tweet as a favourite. It is also good for saving tweets to read later- or ‘note taking’ at a conference. • A private message (sometimes called a DM or direct message) is a private Tweet between two people who follow each other. To read your messages, click on the envelope icon. As of this month you can no longer send links in DM’s. This is because the spammers had taken over and used it to spread viruses and hijack accounts.
  21. 21. 21La Trobe University It’s Time to Tweet • Let’s create a few messages to tweet. Say why you are joining twitter, or say hello to someone by mentioning them in the tweet.
  22. 22. 22La Trobe University Tweet Examples, from @Thesiswhisperer • Ok: "I'm at the Thesis Whisperer workshop!" • Better: "I’m at @thesiswhisperer’s workshop “Write that journal article in 7 days" Hashtag: #7daypaper cc @jasondowns @anitranot #phdchat" • Ok: MT @ACPGilbertson Scrivener / Zotero hacks: zot.html … • Better: Would be interested to see if anyone has tried this scrivener / zotero hack (thanks @ACPGilbertson) #phdchat
  23. 23. 23La Trobe University Tips for Writing the Perfect Tweet Here are some tips on writing ‘good’ tweets: • Don’t use all 140 characters (use around 80- allows room for RT’s and MT’s with comments) • Use a link shortener like it uses less characters, provides analytics and looks cleaner. • Quality is important: be thoughtful, intelligent, pose questions, converse, share useful information – this is how you gain followers and build your profile • Use a hashtag to make your tweet (or conversation) easier to find and follow. It is a way to bring users together around a topic, without the tweets needing to be related or the users knowing each other. It is fantastic to use at conferences or chats: #phdchat, #ecrchat, #latrobeuni, #conferencehashtag, #auspol, #breakingbad
  24. 24. 24La Trobe University Tips for Writing the Perfect Tweet Continued… • Try to aim for a style that is conversational but still substantive. Convey personality without being too informal. See: Twitter_Guide_Sept_2011.pdf for a wider discussion of style. “Some obvious points and conclusions. Don’t tweet things at midnight, you’ll get half the click throughs you get during the day when people are online. Don’t tweet important things on a Friday, especially not late — people do take weekends and you can see a clear drop off in downloads when the weekend rolls around and your paper falls a bit flat, as you sent it on its way on social media at the wrong time. The best time is between 11am and 5pm GMT, Monday to Thursday in a working week.” – Melissa Terras1 1
  25. 25. Final Tip: Stick With It! It can take a few months to gain traction on twitter, so seek out interesting people and stick with it for a little while. Like anything, the more you put in (tweet and have conversations) the more you will get out of it.
  26. 26. Thank you CRICOS Provider 00115M Any Questions?