Tweet your research: a how-to guide
There will be some of you out there who use Twitter prolifically
but also a great many who hear colleagues talking about it and think
"where do they find the time?" or "what's all the fuss about?"
Those who do use Twitter regularly are
evangelical about it, so for those who are still in the "I know what
Twitter is but I haven’t got the faintest idea where to start" camp,
here's a quick guide on how to get started (and for those that still
need convincing, why researchers should use it).
Click to see how T&F authors currently use social media
with a long list of academics explaining how Twitter has benefited their
research, before and after publication.
you can use it to connect with other academics in your field, ask
questions ("crowdsourcing") and spread the word about the type of
research you're undertaking.
But what happens after publication? This is where Twitter can be one
of the most valuable tools you can use to publicize your work, reaching
people who may never have heard of you or your research before,
increasing downloads of your article, citations (in time) and impact.
Working in tandem with your publisher, you can have a very discernible
effect on the reach of your article and the really exciting bit is that
you can see the impact immediately. And one of the best things about
Twitter is you can tweet, check your feed, and have information come to
you wherever you are, so long as you have a smartphone or tablet to
To show how it has impacted on journal articles, here is a recent example of how topic, active academic, and use of social media can come together to raise the profile and impact of their research.
craft your profile page – this is effectively your "shop window" so try
to make it unique, something that says who you are and what you do.
Your username can be your own name (e.g. @JohnSmith) or something a
bit more esoteric (e.g. @mathsgenius). Do remember, though, if you use
your own name it will be easier for others to associate you with your
Twitter account (hopefully a good thing, based on the types of tweets
you send out…).
Use your profile to tell people about your research and experience,
what you teach, and what your interests are. Link to your blog or
website too, so people can explore more, and try to add a photo so
people can recognize your tweets immediately on their feed.
to follow – what do you do? Following the right people and
organizations automatically personalizes your Twitter feed (the list of
tweets that come up on your home page) and also the recommendations that
Twitter makes to you.
You are bound to have a list of colleagues who already use Twitter,
so you can start with these. But what about people you admire? Or
organizations you have an interest in? Media outlets you enjoy reading
already, whether online or in paper format? Once you get started you’ll
realize there’s a wealth of connections you can make, are interested in,
or have some kind of affiliation to. And by following some of the
prolific tweeters you’ll get a feel for how others craft tweets, the
style that is often unique to Twitter, and the shorthand used by
everyone on it. Which brings us on to…
that have stopped you in the past, some of which might have been "how
are you meant to use a hashtag?", "what's a retweet?" and "what on earth
can I say in 140 characters or less that anyone is going to be
interested in?!". So putting your prejudices aside, here are some tips:
- Tweet about what you're researching, how it's going, what your
hurdles are, why people should be interested and link to your article,
website, blog, videos; in fact anything that means the reader can build a
picture of why they should be interested in your research.
- Shorten hyperlinks using sites such as bitly.com or tinyurl.com.
- Engage in Twitter conversations – retweet what you find interesting.
You can do this using Twitter's retweet or you can add some context
(and interest) by putting your own comments, RT @username and then
pasting in the tweet you are referring to.
- Engage in Twitter conversations, Part 2 – respond to tweets, giving
your view and remember to always include the username of the person
you’re responding to (e.g. @JohnSmith).
- Use hashtags to engage with key topics and conversations (e.g.
#openaccess). This will mean that your tweet will be picked up by all
those with an interest in the subject and you'll become part of the
conversation. Don't be afraid to create your own either – you'll be
amazed at how this can make your tweet more visible.
thank people if they retweet you, ask questions, or tweet your thoughts
from conferences you are at. Once you get into it, Twitter is weirdly
addictive - got a few websites that you visit every day? You'll quickly
find Twitter is added to them.
started tweeting about your latest journal article, and now want to know
whether all this extra work is having any impact.
quick and easy way to check this. As a Taylor & Francis author,
you’ll have access to "My authored works" once you create an account and
sign in to Taylor & Francis Online. From here you can see how many times your article has been viewed and how many times it has been cited.
Now here's a challenge – pick your latest article and send some
tweets about it. Tweet about the challenges you faced in writing it,
what you found most interesting or surprising, ask some questions around
the main thrust of the research, or try and draw some of your followers
into a Twitter conversation on the topic of the article. And try to use
hash tags if you can, to draw people in. Give it a week and then check
your article views. Have they increased? We'll guarantee they have if
you’ve followed all of the steps above.
For all its clichés,
social media really is changing the way we communicate and, as
researchers and academics, we want our work to be discoverable and for
people to engage with it.
So give it a go and tell us how you got on – we're @tandfauthorserv and we want to hear about your Twitter experience.
One Taylor & Francis author is a firm advocate for the use of social media and you can see Professor Andy Miah (or read the transcript)
talking about the importance of social media, why you should undertake
your own promotion to raise the profile of your journal and its
articles, and the impact of "DIY PR".
- Tweeted by 496 accounts
- 669 tweets with a reach to over 1 million followers
- Picked up by the Huffington Post, SciDevNet and on R-bloggers and Natural Society blogs
- Over 8,000 article views in two weeks
Initially sparked by a press release from the authors' institution,
this was supported by social media posting and e-marketing from Taylor
& Francis and interest in the article was sustained by the continued
tweeting of its lead author, Jack Heinemann (@Jack_Heinemann). His tweets
highlighted specific arguments, drew others into conversations, and
reached people who may never have been aware of this article otherwise.
Jack said in an interview with Taylor & Francis at the time,
"The attention this paper is getting is gratifying. I am glad to
know that at least some things I do as a research scientist can have
broad relevance to society and be timely.
Will it cause
change? … The scale of the uptake of this paper gives me some cautious
hope that among the downloaders and the readers will be those who will
make a difference in converting the agriculture we do now to the one we
need for the future."
Taylor & Francis Author Services - Tweet your research