We are at the end of this run of “7 Days of Twitter” – a massive thank you to all those who took part! We have enjoyed meeting you on Twitter and discovering lots of interesting research things going on round the university.
We will still be on Twitter if you are catching up with the course after it’s finished – just tweet @rscsam or @benfelen and we will respond! Or you may wish to follow your fellow participants’ tweets by using this Twitter list:
This iteration of “7 Days of Twitter” has had a research focus so we’re concluding with a look at the benefits Twitter can offer to a researcher.
Can Twitter boost the impact of your research?
Research on the use of Twitter is still emerging but the current picture supports the view that Twitter can achieve real results for researchers, both in terms of impact and citations:
This article from the International Journal of Nursing Studies looks at “Using Twitter™ to drive research impact: A discussion of strategies, opportunities and challenges”. It concludes “we suggest that the use of social media micro-blogging platforms is a contemporary, fast, easy and cost effective way to augment existing ways of disseminating research which helps drive impact”.
The rise of Altmetrics has meant that it’s easy to see how much a paper has been discussed or mentioned on Twitter. If you have an ORCID, you can also create your own profile on ImpactStory to collate your publications’ social mentions. Using altmetrics can be a great way to focus your activities on Twitter:
See who is talking about your own papers on Twitter: you can engage with them directly to say thanks (or gently correct any misunderstandings!)
See who is talking about key papers in your field: you can engage with them and perhaps share your own papers where relevant
Zero attention for your recent papers? Building a Twitter network and finding useful hashtags is a great way to remedy this!
A Strategic Approach to sharing your research
Twitter can feel like an overwhelming, fast-moving tide if you are just starting out. Several useful guides exist if you prefer to take a strategic approach to using Twitter (rather than just letting it evolve organically). These are listed in increasing order of length:
All of the above contain prompts for you to reflect on what you hope to get out of using Twitter and the kind of people you’d like to connect with. If you devote some time and effort to Twitter you may wish to set a future date to reflect back on how things are going and whether that effort is paying off. Building a good network takes time! Hopefully this week has been a good start with connections made across the university.
If you are a researcher, try and condense your current research topic into a single tweet! (And if you have some recent open access papers*, tweet them too) Don’t forget to use the #SU7DoT hashtag! You can then see who else is tweeting about their research and reply to them.
Most events and conferences will have either an official or unofficially agreed hashtag. This means that you don’t even have to be there to follow along. Every tweet that includes the event/conference hashtag will show up on a search for that hashtag: for example, the #ageingsummit took place on December 7th and you can see tweets and photos from it on Twitter this week.
Using Twitter for an event or conference
If you are an organizer, make sure the event hashtag is on all publicity and communications to people can start using it. Double check it’s a good hashtag – there have been some embarrassments!
If you are presenting, use Twitter to share your slides (Slideshare is great for this) or additional links.
You can use the hashtag before, during and after an event to discuss, promote and connect. It can be easier to start a conversation with someone in person if you have already interacted with them on Twitter.
During an event, many people will be live-tweeting a talk or session. This means you can follow along, comment and ask questions even if you are not there. Search for the hashtag (or click on it if you see it in a tweet) and keep the results page open – you will see new tweets appear.
Everyone likes positive tweets in response to a talk or presentation! If you see or read something useful, say so publicly on Twitter and make someone happy :o)
You may wish to collate the tweets for an event using Storify once the event is over. This can be a useful record of impact and information.
Online events or chats
Some events can take place entirely online – Twitter has a number of organised academic “chats” which take place at regular intervals. For example, the weekly Learning & Teaching in HE chat (#lthechat) takes place each Wednesday or the Early Career Researcher chat (#ecrchat) takes place fortnightly on a Thursday. These have specific topics for discussion and can be a great place to pick up ideas or make connections.
It’s worth remembering for all these kinds of interactions that your own online profile is important as people may well want to learn more about you if you make useful contributions. This is why we brushed it up on Day 1! You may also find useful people or organisations to follow during events.
If you haven’t done so already, search for “#SU7DoT” using Twitter’s search box and see our tweets this week. Send a tweet yourself using the hashtag to let us know how you’re getting on.
OR: share with us the hashtag for an event, conference or Twitter chat you found useful!
You can install the Twitter app on your mobile phone or tablet or there are other 3rd party options available – these are particularly good for checking Twitter on the go and snapping photos to tweet. There are also many tools developed to tackle aspects of the Twitter experience to save you time and effort:
Many people check Twitter once or twice a day and then send a flurry of tweets and re-tweets all in one go. Using a scheduler means that you can store up a collection of tweets and get them automatically tweeted at a future time. Buffer is a good option – as well as composing tweets in Buffer itself, you can add a “Buffer” button to your web browser or link to other apps so you can post directly into your “Buffer”. You then specify the schedule and Buffer will send out your tweets and track their impact. Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that works well with Twitter and also has a future scheduling facility.
Saving something to read later
Many Twitter users use the “like” heart button to mark items they want to read later on but there are also tools such as “Instapaper” or “Pocket” which let you store an article to read (offline). These integrate well with Twitter or Buffer so you can tweet when you read something interesting or have a question on it.
Saving individual Tweets
Each tweet has its own URL which you can use to link back to them. To get this, click on the timestamp next to a tweet & then copy the URL from your browser bar:
You can also take a screenshot of a tweet (use the Microsoft “Snipper” tool or Command+Shift+4 on a Mac).
You can just sit back and watch your Twitter stream scroll by, but the real value of Twitter for researchers is to take part and join in the conversation. This can seem daunting to new users but it is usually a case of finding the style of tweeting that feels comfortable to you. If you are new to Twitter, watching and learning from experienced tweeters can help you find your own preferences. The LSE Impact project guide to Twitter also has much on styles of tweeting (PDF, p.4-5)
You can re-tweet (RT) someone else’s tweet and add your own comments. This can be a good way of simultaneously sharing someone else’s content whilst adding your own value to it (or endorsement). The original tweeter will get notified of this – getting re-tweeted is usually regarded as a compliment!
Tweeting about your own research: this should be done sparingly and with purpose (otherwise you risk annoying people!). You can target a tweet at a person or organisation by including their Twitter handle in the tweet. If doing this, think carefully about how to make your tweet engaging and interesting for them (i.e. not just a link to a paper…) Again, following experienced researchers in your field who do this well can be helpful.
Saying more: 140 characters is not much space to comment but there are ways of writing longer passages on Twitter:
You can indicate a series of tweets by including (1/3), (2/3), (3/3) at the end of each one. Replying to your original tweet also helps string these together on Twitter.
You can create an image of a longer piece of writing and tweet that image. This can be used for snapshots of book, newspaper or article text, for example.
Link off to a blog post where you expand on an interesting tweet. Twitter and blogging work very well together as a way of promoting research to the wider world.
Tell us about your latest research with the #SU7DoT hashtag in a tweet – bonus points if you use one of the tips above for incorporating longer text!
Twitter is a constantly moving stream of tweets. Once you build up a number of accounts to follow, you realize you can’t possibly keep up with it and that can induce a feeling of stress! Twitter has introduced new features to counteract this – you get a “While you were away” section of tweets, based on what Twitter thinks you’d like to see – but you have some alternatives:
1. Don’t Panic!
One answer is to not worry about it – you can dip in and out when time allows and there will be something there to interest you.
2. Special People
If you have particular people whose tweets you don’t want to miss, you can “turn on mobile notifications” for them by clicking on the little cog wheel on their profile page:
This means that you will get an alert on any devices every time they tweet (so use sparingly…). Or you may just want to remember to visit the profile pages of key people who interest you and see their latest tweets there.
3. Use a List to filter your stream
Another option is to use Twitter’s “List” feature – this allows you to add any number of accounts to a list. You can then view the “List” page which only shows the tweets of people on that list. We have a list of people participating in #SU7DoT, for example.
Set up a notification or a list for one or more important people on Twitter if you don’t want to miss their tweets. Then take a look at our list for the course and tweet a reply to somebody!
To make Twitter work for you requires a bit of up-front work! The content you see on your Twitter stream (apart from a few adverts) depends entirely on who you follow (to follow someone, click on their name or photo and then click the blue “Follow” button).
So how do you refine the constant stream of tweets to reflect your own personal preferences?
Twitter will make suggestions: Twitter does not work well “out of the box” but once you start following people and favouriting tweets (by clicking the heart underneath them), it will begin to make better suggestions based on your interests.
Follow someone’s followers: if you view someone’s Twitter profile, you can click on the count of their “Followers” or “Following” and discover a new network of people. Useful for people in your subject area!
Search for people to follow: you can also proactively seek out people and “Follow” – you can use the Twitter search box (top right on Twitter) or Google. Although we are focussing on using Twitter as a researcher, it’s often fun to include non-work content in your Twitter feed too. So who should you hunt down to follow on Twitter?
Are your real-life friends or colleagues on Twitter? Many people include their Twitter handle on their email signature or website
Finding people attending an event or conference: many events have a hashtag (e.g. the recent #postbrexitcymru event at the School of Management). If you search for that hashtag on Twitter, you can find who is tweeting about that event and follow them if they look useful. There are also well established Twitter “chats” like #lthechat and #ecrchat.
Most importantly: don’t be afraid to “unfollow” someone if you decide they are cluttering up your Twitter stream with tweets that don’t interest you!
Task for Day 2
Use the above suggestions to find some new accounts to follow then tweet a recommendation to us all using the #su7dot hashtag e.g.
Welcome to “7 Days of Twitter” – our first day is all about making the most of Twitter’s profile features. You may be setting an account up for the first time or revisiting an existing one to check it’s in good working order. When logged into Twitter, you can access your profile by clicking on your photo (top right) for “Profile and Settings”.
When someone comes across you on Twitter, they will most likely take a look at your profile to find our more about you. There are several options on Twitter to promote your research / academic self:
Your Twitter handle or username (e.g. @rscsam): your actual name will be displayed next to it so it can be something different; keep it as short and memorable as possible. It is possible to change your Twitter username if you wish.
Your photo: leaving this as the default Twitter egg makes you look like a spammer so it is important to upload something different! Many Twitter users don’t have their face as their profile image but there is a networking advantage in being recognizable, also in using the same image across all online profiles. The photo will be used on a small scale next to your tweets as well as on your profile page.
Basic profile information:
Location: Twitter is a global community so it’s good to let people know where you are in the world!
URL: a Swansea University profile page proves your academic credentials or you may wish to link to a blog or a landing page that lists all your online profiles. Or change the link regularly to your latest book or paper.
Blurb: you have just 160 characters to sum yourself up – this isn’t easy! The “Online Academic” suggests ‘I want to know WHO they are, WHERE they are, and WHAT they are doing in their ACADEMIC FIELD’. In his book, Mark Carrigan suggests presenting your own “story”, depending on your primary reasons for being on Twitter.
Header image: the banner behind your profile page can be used to promote a recent book or paper, or an aspect of your work e.g. Amy Brown has an image of her latest book. Or just keep it decorative if you prefer: lots of Swansea academics feature our beautiful coastline like @Benfelen.
Pinned tweet: three little dots under a tweet link to “More” options which include “Pin to profile page”. This will then appear as the top tweet for your profile = useful for recent publications or achievements e.g. SU’s Lesley Hulonce has her latest book as a pinned Tweet.
Task for Day 1 (or the weekend…)
Give your Twitter profile a quick check to make sure it’s looking good, then send this tweet so we can find you:
“Joining in #SU7DoT with @benfelen and @rscsam”
Using our two Twitter names means we will get alerted to your tweet; using the hashtag #su7dot means we can all find your tweet by searching on that hashtag. You could also tweet:
if you changed anything as a result of this Day’s post
is there anything in particular you look for on a good Twitter profile?
We will be running a new “7 Days of Twitter” next month from 2nd-12th Dec (the 7 days doesn’t include the weekend…). We’ve used your feedback from last time and revamped the content to bring you brand new “7 Days”…
Join the global network of researchers who use Twitter for information, collaboration and impact! The beauty of the micro blogging site Twitter is the ability to start tweeting in 10 minutes, anytime and anyplace, from your computer, smart phone or tablet.
“7 Days of Twitter” (#su7dot) is an open online course for staff and research students at Swansea University. It will explore Twitter and its potential use to support and promote research in small, bitesize chunks.
The best way to understand Twitter is to try it out – the daily post will guide you through an aspect of Twitter and offer suggestions how each feature can be helpful to a researcher, allowing you to learn all about Twitter from the comfort of your own home or office. Each day there will be a short online activity to complete. During the course participants are encouraged to interact using Twitter with the team and each other, building their professional network as they learn to use the platform. Experienced tweeters are welcome to join in.
How it works
Each day you will receive an email with information on an aspect of using Twitter as a researcher. There will also be a task for you to complete on Twitter – signing up and participating on Twitter is a key part of the course. Each task should only take you a few minutes but of course the more you can participate in the conversations on Twitter during the 7 Days, the more you will experience and learn how the network can be of value.
We will arrange at least one face-to-face meet-up during the 7 days: details of the Christmas tweet-up will be announced when the course starts.
How to join in
It’s easy to join in – just sign up to follow the blog (link top right) and you will receive a daily email. The course is open to everyone.
*NEW* If you are a Swansea Uni member of staff you can now book on via the ABW Staff Development Course Catalogue – this will give you recognition for taking the course in your PDR.
If you are already signed up to this blog you will automatically get the emails for the course – if you don’t want to take part this time (please do!) you can of course unsubscribe – follow the link in the email or click “Unfollow” on the blog.