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!