This session, led by Dr Ernesto Priego, Lecturer in Library Science at City University, provided a fascinating insight into the ‘tricks of the Twitter trade’ that researchers might deploy to improve awareness of their research. Ernesto’s talk complemented the excellent teaching session led by Professor Melissa Terras of UCL, which opened participants’ eyes to the value of academic blogging. Ernesto drew attention to his numerous publications on the value of social media, including a prescient 2011 Guardian article, ‘How Twitter will revolutionise academic research and teaching’.
His central point was that social media invites academic participants to engage in an ongoing conversation in which different actors can participate to build up new knowledge, rather than a more traditional model of content creation and passive consumption.
Some key points/tips from his talk:
- One in 40 scholars are active on Twitter.
- Learn the lingo to get the most from Twitter: for example, hashtags are an important way to enable others to follow your conversations – a type of categorisation to facilitate searching. This crib sheet is useful.
- Twitter is free – a big plus at a time of constrained budgets.
- Twitter can be used to support the research life cycle of new ideas, collaboration, fundraising, research creation and outreach of findings – to publicise new publications, recruit participants to make new knowledge or capture opinions, encourage new conversations, and provide a new tool for wider dissemination of research. Follow this link for more information.
- Aim to build a community of supporters, not passive followers.
- Identify your audience and plan your objectives carefully – to promote a project, publicise a book, recruit students etc.
- Make sure your own profile is complete including images or video.
- There are optimal times to tweet, to reach the widest audiences and use tools such as bitly to determine the effectiveness of your campaign and kissmetrics to investigate your analytics more closely.
- Practice live tweeting at conferences.
- Explore using TweetDeck and the API to create your own apps.
- Use Twitter to cite – for example Tweet2cite.
- Link, use images to boost effectiveness.
- Develop a distinctive identity or Twitter personality.
Ernesto’s slides can be viewed here: http://shar.es/FkZpy