Twitter for academics update Sept 2020

Good guidance on how to begin a Twitter account: A Beginner’s Guide to Joining Academic Twitter (2020)

  • “Twitter is a fabulous network for academics. It’s a tool that provides tremendous opportunities for the exchange of ideas with other academics from around the world.
  • Online Professional Branding Tip: Be consistent with usernames and profile photos on the Internet so your audience can easily find you online.
  • Your Twitter bio is a brief introduction or overview. Keep it brief! 160 characters.
  • Online professional branding tip: If people don’t know who you are and what you’re about, they won’t know why they should follow you.
  • Develop “personal rules”to guide your posts.
  • Follow high-value accounts.
  • Start slow.
  • Social media is a tool for communication – you decide if it is an added distraction or an asset.”

And more – use of hashtags, using emojis, threads, how to handle trolls …

A nifty guide for academics on using Twitter (2019)

from Nature News (for 23.9.2020) about a paper in PLOS BiologyQuantifying and contextualizing the impact of bioRxiv preprints through automated social media audience segmentation

More on tweeting for academics – some good links

Today my search on academic tweeting turned up several good hits: good because they were more recent and because they have good tips!


e-bookThe first

is a blog from Online Academic: Twitter for Academics, and provides clear, straight-forward advice. Read the blog post. The author, PhD Jojo Scoble, has written an e-book: Twitter for Academics: a guide, which I have bought ($3.99 US) and downloaded – more great tips!


The second

is older (2012) by Katrina Gulliver in the Chronicle of Higher Education: 10 Commandments of Twitter for Academics. She writes:

“Twitter is what you make of it, and its flexibility is one of its greatest strengths.”

Some of her concrete points include:

  • It helps you get to know a lot of great people whom you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.
  • You can engage directly with scholars whose work you admire.
  • You can get copies of obscure articles much faster than you would have received them from an interlibrary loan.
  • It’s important to have a keyword, or hashtag, that others can search for when you want to communicate with networks beyond your own followers. Whatever your discipline, there’s probably a hashtag in use, but if there isn’t, create one.
  • DON’T make an account solely to promote a new book or project. Build an audience first.
  • You can ask for or about anything on Twitter. It is amazing how knowledgeable your Twitter friends can be. AND you are allowed on Twitter to admit to having a life outside of academia.
  • Not everyone has to use Twitter the same way.
  • Twitter is a kind of “water cooler chat”.

Here are some twitter accounts she recommends (I have checked them – still actively going!):

Lauren Hall-Lew, linguistics at the University of Edinburgh (@dialect); Mark Sample, English at George Mason University (@samplereality); Rebecca Goetz, history at Rice University (@historianess); Greg Restall, philosophy at the University of Melbourne (@consequently); and Kate Clancy, anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (@KateClancy).


The third

one comes from Times Higher Education: The weird and wonderful world of academic Twitter, by Glen Wright, in 2015.

Among other things he writes; ~1 in 40 academics tweet; hashtags are great for community building.


social mediaFinally,

from the Guardian in March 2016, Hellen Lock writes: Follow the leaders: the best social media accounts for academics, which is absolutely full of wonderful links!

Tweeting in Pandora’s box

winking tweeterThe more I get into Twitter the more exciting AND overwhelming it is!!

some new tips …

1 Try to keep tweets under 120 characters


So people have room to add something when they re-tweet!

Here is some info on “What’s the Ideal Length for Social Media and Web Content?” posted January 2016.


2 Shorten the link addresses

I did not know that URL meant Uniform Resource Locator. However, getting involved with Twitter has definitely made me more interested in SHORTENING the length of the links in my tweets.

Here is a link to a list of URL shortening web sites. Many use


… and for more general information about academic use of social media:

From 2014 in Nature but good points: Online collaboration: Scientists and the social network

tweeting for beginners

winking tweeter

1 in 4 rule?

difference between @username and .@username?

The internet is great – I know the answers to these questions now!

1 in 4 rule

A rule of thumb about your tweets is that one in four should be about your own work. The other three could be links to something useful, replies, or retweets.

@username and .@username

A Twitter username (Twitter handle) begins with “@”. Where you place this @username in your tweet is important.

Begin with @username and the tweet is “personal”. It is a message (or direct message DM). It will be visible only to you and the person you are tweeting (and any people who follow both of you). This might also be a reply. You can only message someone you are following.

Embed the @username somewhere in your tweet but not at the beginning and you have mentioned the person in a tweet that is open to everyone – it appears in the feeds of everyone who follows you. (This user is notified in their Mentions section.)

If you want to begin a tweet with the person’s Twitter username, but send it to everyone use the .@username protocol.

(more from a presentation by Ned Potter at the University of York SlideShare)

(from The #1 Twitter Mistake: @reply versus @mention in Twitter for Dummies)

Tips on academic tweeting

winking tweeter

… some references …

How to advise academics most effectively about using twitter …

  • check the research!!
  • check what academic institutions themselves are saying!!

A study of Social Media Usage: 2005-2015, published July 2015 by the Pew Research Centre had a number of interesting results about the use of social media. Some of the highlights are presented by Suzanne Delzio in her blog on Social Media Examiner Sept. 2015, including:

  • More People Get Their News From Facebook and Twitter
  • Twitter Is the Go-to Platform for Breaking News

A number of universities are providing some tips for their staff about using social media. The list continues to grow, but here are some:

Newcastle University – Social media for research[ers]
and its tips for Twitter in particular

University of York – Become a networked researcher

Feb. 2015 Kirk Englehard wrote in a Nature associated SciLog: Science and Social Media: Some Academics Still Don’t ‘Get It’ where he listed 10 reasons for academic researchers to use social media, including:

  • You’re in the Driver’s Seat
  • It’s About the Network
  • It’s Newsy and Trendy
  • Promotion (may) = Citations and Downloads
  • Spreading Your Love of Science
  • Setting the Record Straight
  • Sharing Interesting Things

In 2013, PLOS Biology published “An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists” where authors Bik and Goldstein state:

  • using social media tools offer a powerful way for scientists to boost their professional profile and act as a public voice for science.
  • using social media to share journal articles, advertise their thoughts and scientific opinions, post updates from conferences and meetings, and circulate information about professional opportunities and upcoming events.
  • lacking of an online presence can severely limit a researcher’s visibility,
  • having public visibility and constructive conversation on social media networks can be beneficial for scientists, and impact their research profile in a number of key ways.

The Australian Science Media Centre states that: “Social media can add a new dimension to how scientists communicate with colleagues and the wider community.” They provide information about using social media.