A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Using Twitter for Academia

Twitter can a be really interesting way to communicate your research to other academics and the public, as well as connect with different academic communities. Beyond just memes and keeping in touch with friends, twitter can be used to open up new networking opportunities and improve your communication skills.

On twitter I’ve seen new funding opportunities be announced, PhD positions, as well as internship opportunities and new publications. Twitter can be a really good place to keep up to date with current discussions, both within your field, but also broader ethical issues.

For the last two years, I’ve been trying to focus more on archaeology within my twitter, connecting with other archaeologists and participating with the online Palaeolithic twitter community, which has been encouraged by my supervisor. For me, this has also been really important for the opportunity to connect with more disabled and LGBTQ archaeologists, who provide role models and community support to me, as well as keeping up with archaeologists in other countries.

Below are some of my top tips and some things to remember for when you embark out into the twitter-academia world.

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Twitter: not just for viral memes and videos! Source.

6 Tips to starting or building an academic twitter

1. Find your niche

What makes your experience of university or your research unique? Who do you want to speak to? These are key questions when you begin your twitter, and should inform how you structure material, the amount of jargon or technical language you use, etc.

2. Find people to follow

Search for keywords to try find other academics in your area. Once you begin to find them it becomes much easier as you can see who else interact with their content. Faculty or institutes also often have a twitter, which are worth following.

3. Keep it easy

Twitter is not the places for essays! Keep it short and easy to follow, regardless of your audience. Link to a blog with a more expanded piece if you want. Tweet threads are a good way to break a longer piece into short, digestible chunks.

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Me, tweeting about all my thesis frustrations. Source.

4. Use hashtags and tag people

Hashtags are a great way to get new people to see your content, by showing you in searches for that tag. They’re also a helpful way to categorise your material. Tagging people in specific research or asking for advice can also be a good way to encourage conversation.

5. Conferences and papers

Conferences often have hashtags, with these a really good way to find and meet new people during conference. Live tweeting sessions can also be really helpful to those unable to attend (I know I always appreciate this!). Check this blog post for more information.

6. Tag @UniLeiden!

This is very self explanatory, but tag your faculty into your tweets about studying, they often have larger audiences and can boost your tweets. You can also find other members of the University through this method.

Important things to remember:

❗ It’s public! Everything you put out is visible, and even deleting it doesn’t erase it. Make sure that you’re putting out stuff that’s “work-appropriate” and that won’t affect future job opportunities.

❗Whose data is this? Check that any data you publish is free to publish! If it’s your data, make sure it isn’t under embargo. And if it’s someone else’s…

❗Credits! Make sure you credit any images or pictures from publications you use! Tag the authors if you can find them, or provide a link to the paper or website you sourced it from.

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Don’t let twitter take over your day-to-day life! Source.

Useful hashtags:

Sci-comm: “Science communication”, communicating scientific findings or method to the public in an accessible, interesting and relevant way. Check these three examples for great sci-comm inspo.

AcWriMo: “Academic Writing Month” is a great tag to encourage yourself to write more, and hold yourself accountable to your goals.

Studentlife: anything student/study related.

Ecrchat: “early career researcher chat”, this is more for graduate students, sharing problems, feelings or anything about your day.

I hope you find these tips useful in getting started with or building your own academic twitter! Free free to comment below if you have any more questions or more tips!

A possible Neanderthal “hashtag” from Gibraltar! Source.

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This entry was posted on April 7, 2019 by in Sophie, Student Life, Study and tagged , , , , , , , .

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