Welcome to part 2 of this blog series exploring how you might maximizing your academic potential via social media.
Many people ask the following questions:
- How do academics use social media?
- How can social media be used for research?
- How can social media be used to promote businesses?
- How can social media be used to promote Community interest companies (CIC)?
- How can social media be used for networking?
- How can I use social media to promote my academic research?
This series reflects a seminar I was asked to give at Coventry University by the research excellence unit. Enjoy.
OK, so let’s start with Twitter…. (My personal favourite)
This is a fast paced micro blogging site where you have 140 characters to say something catchy about your research, a conference or a contemporary issue. It can be used both personally and professionally. However, I do not recommend mixing your personal and professional online profiles within the same account.
As you set up your profile, use a professional image for your profile picture. Your cover photo might want to reflect your current work or a campaign you feel strongly about. Your profile can have personality and be quirky, but generally, I hope you will be using this professionally….so…keep it professional? OK.
Your twitter handle or ‘identifier’ should be simple. Preferably your name rather than @sexygurly1234. In addition to this, you can also add a calling name. If you are an academic, you may want this to show your academic status….perhaps ‘Dr.Doolittle’? ‘Professor Plum’? or such like.
NOTE: Anything you do set up (Names, URL’s & academic accounts)…ensure that it has longevity.
- For example...don’t add a date/year to anything that might change…
- If you are going to need a (.com) at a later date, choose it sooner rather than later….
- Are you going to change institutions?..Then be careful not to commit to anything permanent in this regard online.
- Going to change the name of your research centre?… Then you may well loose followers when you do…so think carefully.
Chessboard thinking = Think 2 moves ahead!
People will ‘tag’ you using your Twitter handle. You should tag them back! – Twitter is very social and interactive. Tagging someone in a tweet means using the @ symbol in a tweet followed by their name @. This will get their attention, and yours. You will be notified as to who has tagged who and what the conversation is. See this in the notifications tab on Twitter. You can play with your settings to set who and what you want to see. Have a play once you set up.
Also, you may want to pin a tweet. This should be your favorite tweet – perhaps you latest paper or research work? – You can change this as frequently as you like.
Here is an example where I pin a Tweet showing my latest research citation. I tagged 10 key researchers in my field to let them know of this new content and shared the link to the full article for people to explore. I also tagged the Royal College of Midwives (@) who used my research to form their new guidance on Work-related stress.
Ready to set up and have a go?
Once you are set up, use and share visual content such as videos or pictures as often as you can. This is most engaging. (You can tag up to 10 people in a picture to draw their attention to it). Tag and re-tweet interesting content, and search for people you find interesting in your field. Follow them. Interact with them… Where else would you get the chance to do that?
Next, explore some hashtags to find out what conversations are happening. A hashtag (#) is a filing system which sorts out various conversations.
When a certain hashtag is used very heavily over a short period of time, it will start ‘Trending’ – This is when content, or a conversation goes ‘Viral’…Who knows… maybe one day #SallyPezarosLatestPaper will go viral. I can but hope. When a Trend is planned, it is called a ‘ThunderClap’. In this case, many users will plan to tweet a certain Hashtag at the same time to force a trend. Fun to get involved with 🙂
Here are some hashtags to get you started:
Use them where you can in your own tweets and perhaps follow them?
MondayFunday #Mondaze #MondayMadness
#MondayMotivation #TransformationTuesday #TravelTuesday
#TuesdayTips #WednesdayWisdom #WednesdayWellness #HumpDay
#ThrowbackThursday or #TBT #ThursdayThoughts #TGIF #FridayFeeling
#FollowFriday or #FF #FollowBackFriday or #FBF #FridayReads
#Weekend #SaturdayPlans #SocialSaturday #Weekend #SundayFunday
#SundayNight #SelfieSunday #SundayBlogShare
Now..Who should you follow?
- People you want to work with
- People you respect
- People you want to share work/ideas with
- The We Communities (For healthcare).
- The Royal Colleges
- Key opinion leaders in your field
- Academic Media (Times, guardian higherEd etc…)
- National Institute of Health Research (and other key funders in your field).
- Universities (and their relevant departments)
- NHS, DoH etc… (Anyone who will disseminate the latest white papers)!
- Journals you want to publish in (tag them when they do publish you!)
My personal favourites- @PhD2Published @AcademicPain @AcademiaObscura @TheLitCritGuy @AcademicsSay @GameofAcademics @HigherEdUnDead @fasttrackimpact @AcademicBatgirl @researchwhisper @PHDcomics @PhDForum @WriteThatPhD @academia@PhD_Connect
Don’t know what to Tweet?
- Who are you going meet today? – Tag them
- What are you working on today? – Share it
- What was the last paper you published? – Pin it and tag those you want to read it, including the journal
- Your opinions on hot professional topics
- Your contributions to popular professional conversations or (Trends)
- Your appreciation for other peoples work you admire
- Your celebratory comments to colleagues
- Reciprocal congratulatory tweets
- Everything about key conferences using the conference hashtag (photos and quotes)!
- Share and ‘like’ other things you like or want to promote
Twitter is most useful for academic networking during conference season….
Conference will (or should) provide a conference hashtag. Use it to follow the conversation, find out who else is going and join in! Tag and follow those you want to network with. Let them know you will be there..ask to join them in a coffee break.
Other people will be watching the conference hashtag even though they are not in attendance at the conference. Tweet some quotes and pictures of them… share the learnings. Reflect and build the community.
Here is an example:
Lastly, I wanted to draw your attention to the benefits of community and shared learning on Twitter. The We Communities are a great way to connect with other health care groups and professionals..They really embrace research and collaborations with academics. They also host regular chats using various hashtags which are great to learn from and engage with…
If none of these chats take your fancy, why not try looking at the Healthcare Hashtag project, which catalogs a wider range of healthcare discussion topics.
Looking to join an online school or Journal club on Twitter? The School for Health and Social Care radicals is a great way to get started…
I do apologise that these tips largely relate to the health and social care communities…As I find new information on other Twitter fields I will share….It just so happens that this is my professional field in particular.
If you have other suggestions please share them in the comments section below…
As this blog series continues, we can explore how Twitter can be used for research purposes…In the next post we can look at other social media platforms and relate them all back to how we might use them for research and for academic promotion.
For now, I hope you have found this post on Twitter for academics useful….
Homework for next time:
- Set up your Twitter account
- Start Tweeting, following, sharing and connecting
- Let me know how you get on
Until next time…Look after yourselves and each other.