Twitter for Researchers


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Part of the Becoming a Networked Researcher workshops I run at the University of York.

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Twitter for Researchers

  1. 1. TwitterBecoming a Networked Researcher part 3Ned PotterAcademic Liaison
  2. 2. Aim of today: explore whyTwitter might be useful in theresearch environment, look atsome academic examples, setup Twitter accounts (if youdon’t already have them) anddiscuss Tweeting well.
  3. 3. Whatis Twitter?
  4. 4. Twitter is a social network whichallows users to exchange publicmessages of 140 characters orless, known as Tweets.It’s easy to tweet, via:
  5. 5. Tweets can be entirely text-based or they cancontain multimedia such as images orvideo, and links to anything online.
  6. 6. Your tweets are seen by other Twitterusers who follow you; you see thetweets of users you follow. You canquickly build up a network of peerswith shared interests. There are aroundhalf a billion Twitter users worldwide.It works like this:
  7. 7. FIVETwitterMYTHS
  8. 8. 1: YOU CAN’T SAYANYTHING IN 140CHARACTERS.Yes you can, because Twitter is meant tobe a conversation rather than abroadcast. It’s easy to ask, andanswer, questions in 140 characters orless.
  9. 9. 2: IT’S JUST PEOPLESAYING WHAT THEYHAD FOR LUNCH.No it isn’t – only celebrities really dothat, because they have so manyfollowers that meaningful dialogue isn’treally possible.For the rest of us, it’s a conversation.
  10. 10. 3: IT’S A WASTE OFTIME AND DOESN’TBELONG IN HIGHER EDUCATION.Twitter is definitely NOT a waste of timeif you engage with the right people – itcan lead to better understanding, careeropportunities, collaborations, exposure,reputation.(More than 70% of academics use social media now.)
  11. 11. 4: I DON’T HAVETIME TO TWEET.If you have time for conversation youhave time for Twitter.If it’s useful, if it helps youprofessionally, if it gives you ideas andtips that actually save you time, thenyou definitely have time!
  12. 12. 5: THERE’S NO POINT IN MYBEING THERE AS I DON’TKNOW ANYONE ON IT.Firstly you probably do know people onit (search for your peers’ names) butsecondly Twitter is a great leveller – itprovides the chance to engage withpeople you don’t know, including theleaders in your field.(As someone said, Facebook is where you lie to your friends,Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers.)
  13. 13. Whyuse Twitter?
  14. 14. Connect with your peers
  15. 15. Connect with your peersTwitter is a brilliant networking tool – forfinding researchers with similar interests, forkeeping in touch after conferences , for findingand engaging the leaders in your field.
  16. 16. Keeping up to date
  17. 17. Keeping up to dateIf you follow the right people onTwitter you’ll always know whenthe latest papers arepublished, when calls for papersannounced, when conferences arehappening, when developments inyour field are occurring, when newtechnology emerges which isrelevant to what you do, andwhat’s going on in HE.On Twitter, the information comesto you.
  18. 18. Share what you’re doingwith the world
  19. 19. Share what you’re doingwith the worldTwitter is a great way to tellpeople about your researchoutputs, your current projects, andyour professional activities.It can also be a brilliant funnel forall your other social mediaactivities too – nothing is morelikely to get people reading yourblog (etc) than people tweetingabout it.
  20. 20. (Highly tweeted articles are 11times more likely to be cited thanless-tweeted articles)Eyesenbach, 2011, Can tweets predict citations?Journal of Medical Internet Research 13 (4)Hat-tip to Michelle Dalton – see for more stats.
  21. 21. AlsoTwitter is FUN.
  22. 22. Some moreacademic perspectives(Click theimage to goto Storify.)
  23. 23. FOURquotes about Twitter
  24. 24. Its like proprioception, your bodys ability to knowwhere your limbs are. That subliminal sense oforientation is crucial for coordination: It keeps youfrom accidentally bumping into objects, and itmakes possible amazing feats of balance anddexterity.Twitter and other constant-contact media createsocial proprioception. They give a group of people asense of itself, making possible weird, fascinatingfeats of coordination.Clive Thompson
  25. 25. Services like Twitter, no matter how selectively we curatethe sources we follow, require us to become activeparticipants and not merely either information producers orconsumers. Academics are trained to manage data streamsand to make informed appraisals of the sources we find.These skills suit social media perfectly; what is still needed isto develop strategies to listen to our peers and audiencesbetter, and to learn how to react publicly.Twitter can considerably level the playing field: you are noton the podium or on a stage. It is not meant to be anauditorium, but a seminar room.Ernesto Priego
  26. 26. In the end, the value of Twitter for academics iswhat you make of it. So, can academics managewithout Twitter? Of course they can. But the betterquestion might be “What can academics managewith Twitter?” I find thinking about that questionto be much more exciting.Carole McGranahan
  27. 27. Twitter is a profoundly practical service and yet it isdifficult to convey this because much of theterminology, interface and minutiae of Twitter areinherently confusing until you have engaged withthe service.So why should you make the leap? The only reasonI can give is that people just like you are finding theservice astoundingly useful.Mark Carrigan
  28. 28. Keyconceptsdefined
  29. 29. Tweet: your tweet is your message. 140characters. Seen by a: your followers whohappen to be online at the time and b: anyonewho happens to look at your profile, andpotentially c: by the followers of anyone whoReTweets it.ReTweet: if you RT someone else’s tweet, it willappear in your timeline and your followers cansee it. Being ReTweeted yourself is a really goodthing – it means your ideas are being exposed tonew networks.
  30. 30. @reply: you can converse directly with someoneby putting their username (beginning with @)into your tweet – this will ensure the tweetshows up in their ‘@ replies’.Your tweets will be seen by anyone followingboth you AND the person with whom you’reconversing. (In other words, you don’t see everytweet from every person you follow – Twitterfilters out the noise.)
  31. 31. Hashtag: a #hashtag is a way to bring togetherdisparate users on the same topic, without thetweets needing to know each other alredy. Hashtagscan also be a way to archive conversations on atheme, and discuss events or conferences.You can click on any #hashtag (for example#altmetrics) and find all recent tweets which haveincluded it.Direct Message: a DM is a private message, withinthe network, which only you and the recipient see.
  32. 32. E.g.Academic Tweeters
  33. 33. Find Tweeters by discipline:
  34. 34. @uniofyork is the main account of the University@UoYLibrary is the Library’s account@UoYITServices is the IT services account@RDT_York is the Researcher Development Team account@TFTV_YORK is the TFTV account, one of the many Departments onTwitter@UoYEvents is the account for Events at York@UoY_Yorkshare is the VLE team’s accountDepartmental tweeters:Wider HE tweeters:@timeshighered is the Times Higher’s very active account@lseimpactblog is the LSE Impact Blog’s account (don’t be putoff by the name, it’s relevant to all researchers interested in Web2.0 tools)@gdnhighered is the Guardian’s Higher Education account
  35. 35. Time to get started.Go to and follow theinstructions in the hand-out.
  36. 36. Time to get started.Go to and follow theinstructions in the hand-out.Hi Slideshare people – if you’reinterested, the handout we used at thispoint can be found on Scribd:
  37. 37. wellTweeting
  38. 38. Above all, remember it’s notabout broadcasting, it’sabout conversation!
  39. 39. Consider the 1 in 4 rule*Tweets directlyabout your work
  40. 40. Consider the 1 in 4 rule*Tweets directlyabout your work*actually it’s more of a guideline…A ReTweet?A link to something useful?A reply?
  41. 41. Try not to think of it aspurely personal or purelyprofessional – it worksbetter when it’s both.
  42. 42. Try not to think of it aspurely personal or purelyprofessional – it worksbetter when it’s both.(Personally I think it works well when you majorin professional and minor in personal…)
  43. 43. Embrace the smartphone!(Soon there will only BE smartphonesso you may as well get started now.)
  44. 44. Embrace the smartphone!(Soon there will only BE smartphonesso you may as well get started now.)Tweet from conferences (includingpictures), converse on the train, reply inthe supermarket queue.Twitter doesn’t have to be something youMAKE TIME for.
  45. 45. Don’t just makestatements, ask questions.
  46. 46. You need to actually tell peopleyou’re there.
  47. 47. You need to actually tell peopleyou’re there.@username on yourbusiness cardson your PowerPointpresentationson your name-badge atconferencesin your email signature
  48. 48. Okay, that’s it.
  49. 49. Thanks for coming!If you’re interested in Parts 1 (Blogs) andPart 2 (Collaboration & Dissemination)they’re both on Prezi.Blogs: every picture via