Happy Birthday, Twitter!

Apparently, Twitter turns 10 years today – and of course this deserves a blog post on it’s own. I joined twitter in september 2011 – and since then I’ve published 3320 tweets. Puh.

I thought this post would be a short reflection on the benefits of using twitter as a researcher or academic, but of course there are tons of great resources out there, like this five-part guide to using twitter from the Online Academic.

So this will just be a short personal reflection on the benefits I’ve experienced myself.

  1. To have fun! I wouldn’t spend the amount of time I do on social media if I didn’t enjoy it. 
  2. To keep up with news. I often find out about things going on in the world on twitter first – and then I look it up elsewhere. This goes both for “regular” news and academic news. I’ll hear about new studies, interesting publications etc on twitter too. By following key people in my field I can also keep up with what they are doing, publishing, discussing…
  3. To connect. It’s often easier to comment on a tweet and (hopefully) have a dialog than to send an email or pick up the phone. For me, being a bit of an introvert (at least IRL) it’s A LOT easier. I find it’s excellent at conferences – if you live tweet a session using the conference hashtag you’ll quickly pick up on who else is in the room tweeting – and it’s so much easier to approach them during the coffee break if you’ve already initiated a conversation through twitter. Pick a profile picture where they can recognize you though!
  4. To engage the public. Being a researcher in health informatics, I’m in constant contact with patients, health care professionals, administrators, policy makers and politicians, IT vendors and many more important stakeholders that are not usually reached by my research publications or attending scientific conferences. Through twitter, I can extend my professional network well beyond the academic world. I’ve also experimented with using twitter to engage with the public before, during and after workshops held at academic conferences.
  5. To promote your work. Once you’ve finally managed to publish a paper you’re of course dying for people to read it (and cite it!). But honestly, even if the paper is open access and in a good publication – the odds that it will reach your audience are not the best. Using twitter, you can take things into your own hands and spread the paper to your followers – and with a bit of luck they’ll continue retweeting it. Twitter isn’t just good for promoting the publication, it can be used throughout the publication lifecycle, as is shown in the infographic below.

Opportunities can also arize from your activities on twitter. I’ve been approached for collaborations and had journalists contact me to comment on issues that I’ve written about on twitter. Once, I even got a thank you from the conference organizers at the closing ceremony of a big health informatics conference (after having tweeted about the lack of acknowledgement of all the social media ambassadors tweeting from the conference that is – I didn’t realize the organizers checked the twitter feed while on stage).

To summarize, academic – go tweet! It’s so worth it.

[post 20 in the #blogg100 challenge]

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2 Responses to Happy Birthday, Twitter!

  1. Utting Wolff says:

    Gillar denna blogg post som en av dem som har haft bra och roliga utbyten med dig (@DrCGillberg). Ska dessutom snart söka fram några av dina artiklar och strax klickar jag på ‘Follow’ knappen här. Keep on tweeting, keep on blogging. Claudia

  2. Pingback: Crisis information through social media | Participatory eHealth

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