Why aren’t you on Twitter yet?

You, in academia (PhD, Postdoc, Masters student, Professor), yes you need to get onto the twitter bandwagon and here’s how and why.

Advised by my boss when I was working as a research assistant in Singapore, I joined Twitter in 2011. Cut to 7 years later I have ~3200 tweets, ~2500 followers, and I am following ~5000 fellow tweeters.

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But, it isn’t just about numbers. Its about telling the world about your research, your work, your ideas, your beliefs (academic ones at first) and sharing whats hot in your field. Build your Twitter profile just as you build your resume but here you can get into even more details. Got a paper accepted? Tweet about it. Uploaded your slides on SlideShare? Tweet about it. Attending a workshop? Tweet about it. Found an interesting article? Yup, you are learning fast! Tweet about it too. Tell the world you are giving a talk at an upcoming conference or maybe that you attended an interesting talk (heard of live tweeting?), inform them about the Call For Papers of workshop you are in the Program Committee of or that you are taking a new course & learning something new.

Customize, choose and create tweets which are meaningful, informative and interesting. Use hashtags, tag accounts (people and organizations) whom you are tweeting about and if possible, use pictures (from your own papers too). Follow accounts of people, universities, institutes, organizations and labs that are working on topics you care about it, are closely (& even remotely) related to, are consistently producing innovative outputs and are also tweeting about their achievements, papers, news etc. Retweet exciting news, trending tweets, amazing projects. You even have the option to “Quote tweet” and add your opinion about a particular tweet. Don’t feel shy to call out (tag) people whose work you came across.

Share videos or tutorials that you followed and found meaningful. You write a blog? Excellent, tweet every time you write a new post. Oh and I definitely recommend TweetDeck to help sort through the tweets — set up separate columns for a) your notifications, b) hashtag feeds for your particular research interest, and maybe even c) a feed of the most important person in your field so you don’t miss out on their tweets. On that, in fact, I have two tips: a) now you can set up tweet notifications of specific accounts that you don’t want to miss out. I have switched it on for Tim-Berners Lee & my PhD supervisors along with my current professor; b) you can schedule tweets at any future time and date (via TweetDeck).

There are loads of tutorials, tips and tricks out there but you just have to start. In fact check out this book specially on this topic. I know I have convinced you to jump right onto the Twitter bandwagon so don’t wait & your first tweet can be that you read this post about tweeting which made you start 😉 Happy Tweeting !

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