Following the launch of the guide on using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities, we look at how Twitter can be used in research projects.
Tweet about each new publication, website update or new blog that the project completes. To gauge feedback, you could send a tweet that links to your research blog and ask your followers for their feedback and comments.
For tweeting to work well, always make sure that an open-web full version or summary of every publication, conference presentation or talk at an event is available online. Summarize every article published in closed-web journal on a blog, or lodge an extended summary on your university’s online research depository. In addition, sites like www.scribd.com are useful for depositing open web versions.
Tweet about new developments of interest from the project’s point of view, for instance, relevant government policy changes, think tank reports, or journal articles.
Use hashtags (#) to make your materials more visible – e.g. #phdchat. Don’t be afraid to start your own.
Use your tweets to cover developments at other related research sites, retweeting interesting new material that they produce. This may appear to some as ‘helping the competition’, but in most research areas the key problem is to get more attention for the area as a whole. Building up a Twitter network of reciprocating research projects can help everyone to keep up to date more easily, improve the standard and pace of debate, and so attract more attention (and funding) into the research area.
Twitter provides many opportunities for ‘crowd sourcing’ research activities across the sciences, social sciences, history and literature – by getting people to help with gathering information, making observations, undertaking data analysis, transcribing and editing documents – all done just for the love of it. Some researchers have also used Twitter to help ‘crowdsource’ research funding from interested public bodies. You can read more about crowdsourcing in Alastair Dunning’s post for the blog.
Reaching out to external audiences is something that Twitter is exceptionally good for. Making links with practitioners in business, government, and public policy can happen easily. Twitter’s brevity, accessibility and immediacy are all very appealing to non-academics. At the end of each month, Twitter can be used as a painless metric to assess how your tweeting is working for you and your project.
Showing the growth in your followers and the number of people who read your research blog can also be helpful for funding applications. You could make short notes on the following:
• The number of followers you have
• The names of those who could be useful for future collaboration
• Invitations to write blog posts or speak at events, which have come via Twitter
• Number of hits to your own blog posts via Twitter
Read more about creating an impacts file in our handbook for social scientists.
For more tips on academic tweeting, download our short guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities.
Also see our lists of academic tweeters.