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”.
- Melissa Terras, a digital humanities scholar, experimented with “open access and the Twitter effect” to her advantage. Her conclusion was “If (social media interaction is often) then (Open access + social media = increased downloads).”
- The excellent LSE Impact blog shared 3 case studies where researchers worked in partnership with other organisations to boost their social media reach. All involve use of Twitter, described by Heather Doran as “a powerhouse for two-way engagement”.
Tracking the impact of your research on Twitter
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:
- This post from ACS Axial shares a 3 point strategy for thinking about social media
- Jenny Delasalle shared her own process for creating a social media (mini-)strategy
- The LSE Impact blog looked at how to create an “editorial mission” for academics on social media
- Project Maya has a longer post on creating a Social Media Strategy for your research (and their Twitter tips are worth reading too)
- This comprehensive guide from UCT covers creating an online presence for academics
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.
* If you don’t have any open access papers, remember you can papers OA via the green route, using the institutional repository.