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Why Academics Should Use Twitter

Twitter has a lot of value for academics as a professional social network and news service. 1 in 40 scholars in the US and UK use Twitter and that number continues to grow. If you’re not already on Twitter here’s how to use it to share your research, connect with your peers, and build your brand.

Join a Wider Conversation

Most academics only interact professionally with other researchers in their subfield or at their institution. However, Twitter makes it easy to have conversations with scholars from across your discipline as well (as other related fields) without waiting for the annual meeting. It’s easier to reach out someone you don’t know with a quick tweet rather than an email--and it’s more likely to get a response too!

Find and Share Resources

Twitter makes crowdsourcing easy. Not sure what textbook to assign your students? Can’t remember the title of a journal article you read last year? Ask the Twittersphere! On the flip side, if you want to recommend a resource, it’s far simpler to do so in 280 characters that to write a book review. Twitter is also a great medium through which to publicize understudied material, such as fragmentary texts or non-English scholarship.

Stay Informed

For many users, Twitter is primarily a news aggregator. By following journals and researchers in their field, academics can stay abreast of new discoveries and publications as soon as they happen. Twitter is also an easy way to see what colleagues all over the world are working on all in one convenient feed.

Increase Your Visibility

Through the power of retweets, your work has the capacity to reach a bigger audience on Twitter than it does through an academic press. Not only are your colleagues and network more likely to promote your work to their followers, science journalists or celebrities might even pick up on it.

Improve Your Writing Skills

There’s something to be said for learning to write concisely. With its famous character limit Twitter forces you to do just that.

Network

Creating a Twitter profile is another way to strengthen your professional online presence. You can use it to expand your network both in and outside of academia and build up your reputation as a subject matter expert. Tweeting helps get your name out and could put you on a hiring committee member’s radar.

Are you sold on the value of Twitter for academics now? Great, now go make an account and start tweeting. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Interesting articles you have read
  • Book reviews
  • Ideas you are thinking about
  • Articles you’ve published recently
  • Useful resources for researchers in your field
  • Classes you are teaching
  • Conferences you are attending
  • Questions you have
  • Funding opportunities
  • Take part in a Twitter discussion like #PhDChat or #ScholarSunday

Remember to retweet as well and respond to other people’s tweets. Twitter is all about engagement so interaction is key to building your following. Using and following hashtags is a great way to find others researchers from your field and help them find you. Finally, make sure to follow Academic Positions on Twitter @academpositions.

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