, 42 tweets, 28 min read Read on Twitter
Ok. There are a ton of great articles on WHY scholars should join Twitter, but most don’t offer an in-depth HOW-to.

This leads to hesitation and timidness.

So, I present a thread “You’ve joined Twitter. Now what?” #AcademicTwitter #scicomm #SoMe
First, choose a handle you’ll be happy with 5 years from now. I’d regret creating @SarahNEU2013 now that I’ve long since graduated.

#academictwitter #scitwitter #medtwitter
Next, pick a good bio photo. A professional headshot you’ve used in other places (e.g., university directory) is smart.

Because Twitter has paused verification, I see consistent photos across multiple channels as an unofficial way to confirm you are who you say you are.
If you use a profile photo that is not you (e.g, pic of nature, university seal, etc...) you risk looking like a bot or an account that’s on behalf of an organization.

Also, no sunglasses.

A bio that showcases your titles(s), affiliations and advanced degrees are an excellent way to establish your personal brand.

Check if your university encourages/requires disclosures. If they don’t, it’s still a good idea.

“Views are my own” is sufficient.
You are just getting started and your bio won’t be “perfect.” It’s ok to adjust it until you are content.

Add a website link to your profile. Your uni directory, personal site, Google scholar or LinkedIn work well.
Create a set of “personal rules” that will dictate what you post. For instance, a few of mine are:

-Post mostly about #scicomm #meded #SoMe #WomenInSTEM
-Follow folks in STEM and med fields.
-Keep it professional. Minimize personal posts.
-Limit politics.
Other “personal rules” include:

-Only retweet high quality posts.
-Limit retweeting a ton of posts in a row. It’s low effort.
-Goal behind most posts should be to add value or create conversations.
-Congratulate others for achievements.

You won’t have all your rules on Day 1.

They will change as you become more familiar with the platform.

Setting personal guidelines will make it easier for you post with purpose and intention. It removes ambiguity and hesitation.
Btw your rules should be yours and they will be different than mine.

For example, you might see value in posting a mix of personal and professional.

By doing so, you show that #academics are multifaceted.

On that note, a great hashtag to check out is #scientistswhoselfie
Follow journals, journalists, news outlets, science communicators, labs, universities, colleagues, influential people in your field, organizations and professional associations.

Not exhaustive, but it’ll get you started and make Twitter a useful tool instead of a distraction.
You might be uncomfortable with “self promotion.”

If you don’t advocate for yourself, who will?

To balance “self promotion”:
-Retweet the work of people in your field. Esp. jr faculty!
-Reference someone’s publication in a seminar? Post a pic of the slide. Include their handle.
Know someone that is effectively using Twitter? Talk to them!

Oftentimes, colleagues will go out of their way to help you build a following by retweeting your work or following your handle.

Use this to your advantage and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Use Twitter to network offline.

Don’t have an opener for someone you admire but would be too shy to approach normally? Introduce yourself and let them know you admire their work on Twitter.

Works every time.

People appreciate it. Plus, it’s a great icebreaker.
Going to continue this thread with a few more ideas for folks that are new to Twitter and aren’t sure where to start.

#scicomm #some #medtwitter #scitwitter
Not sure what to write for your first post? Introduce yourself!

Hi I’m [name] and I’m a [PhD candidate, prof., researcher, ...] working on [specialization] that will help us understand [societal relevance].

I joined Twitter to [expand my network, share science, ...]

For medicine:

Hi I’m [name] and I’m a [RN, med student, med educator, clinician, ...] specializing in [X]. I joined Twitter to [inform the public, connect with other MD-PhDs, keep up-to-date w/ XYZ].

#MedEd #MedTwitter #doubledocs
I know the previous two tweets seem like obvious advice for people who already using Twitter, but the first tweet is a big hurdle.

Simple tips and directions can help lower anxiety and give purpose to posts.
A word about hashtags...

#Hashtagging #most #words is #spammy #and #tough #to read. #Bots do #this.

One or #two in a sentence is #fine.

Personally, I prefer a few at the end of a post. #advice #education #edutwitter

Not sure what hashtags to use? Take a peek at what conversations are occurring.

A good place to start is to look at hashtags that are keywords in your field. Examples:


Depending on your field, some conversations will be more active than others.
Add popular hashtags to your posts. Some of my favorite are:

#SoMe (Used by medical professionals. Short for social media)

Use them when they are relevant to your posts or when you’d like the attention of a particular group.
Create unique hashtags so that people can easily refer to your work.

@LivWithoutLimit, @trity_p, @USCEngWriting and I have course-related ones. It’s a nice record of what we’ve done in an academic term.

Take a look:

Not sure how often to use Twitter? Figure out how to incorporate it in your schedule. This could mean:

Starting off with the “@EricTopol method.” His tweets summarize articles well.

(Avoid posting screenshots of publications that are not open access though.)
The “@EricTopol Method” is also a good way to establish a central location for your references.

When you summarize the key points of a publication, you are also practicing concise communication.
Another way to incorporate Twitter into your schedule is to designate certain times for its use.

I often meet people that worry about social media becoming a distraction.

It’s only a distraction if you allow it to become one.

-Check Twitter for x mins in the AM/PM. Set an alarm to keep you accountable.
-Check it throughout the day only when walking between buildings/meetings.

..but really, when you’re getting started, don’t stress. Focus on understanding Twitter first. #AcademicTwitter
Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tweets on your feed?


In an earlier tweet I provided suggested account types to follow, but you don’t need to follow everyone initially.

#AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter
A few people have chimes in about having fun on Twitter. I glossed over that point...

It is important to have fun on here!

Check out @joesbigidea #followfriday

If you don’t normally use emojis, consider it on Twitter. It can add context. For example:

It’s fine. [unclear]

It’s fine. 🙂👍 [no problem]

It’s fine. 😔😢 [accepting, but sad]

When face-to-face, we communicate using a lot of nonverbal cues. We don’t have that over text.
Other ways emojis can help with messaging:

🔒 paywalled article
🔓open access article
📧: [email address here]

Get creative with them, too! I love seeing these ones:


#AcademicTwitter #SciTwitter #MedTwitter
I think sarcasm should generally be avoided. The payoff is low and you run the risk of hurting or alienating a lot of people.

It’s tough to take back a comment once it’s out there.

#AcademicTwitter #SciTwitter #MedTwitter
Take advantage of Twitter’s List function!

I use lists to learn more about how people in #STEM and #medicine use Twitter.

I group accounts by disciplines, advanced degrees, and content.

You can make them public or private.

#AcademicTwitter #SciTwitter #MedTwitter
Your audience could miss your tweets, so don’t be afraid to repackage and post.

The next two tweets are examples of how to do this with a publication. I wouldn’t post these back to back, but I might share them in same week.

#AcademicTwitter #SciTwitter #MedTwitter #SciComm
College students improve their writing skills by editing articles on Wikipedia.

wikiedu.org/blog/2019/06/0… @WikiEducation #AcademicTwitter #HigherEd #Academia
Teaching and learning with Wikipedia - Why #STEM faculty shouldn’t overlook the benefits of using Wikipedia in higher education

wikiedu.org/blog/2019/06/0… @WikiEducation

#SciTwitter #SciComm #wikipedia
A few differences between the examples are nuanced, but important to consider for your own strategy.

-Text in each tweet is different from the blog title
-1st post: language is general
-2nd post targets STEM faculty
-Hashtags: unique in each tweet to increase visibility
If it feels like too much self promotion from one account, contact the communication department at your university. They can make recommendations and will likely post your publications on their own social media channels.

Plagiarism is plagiarism (even on social media).

Get in the habit of crediting content creators and linking to original sources of information. Do this in all your tweets.

If you can’t figure out who to credit, don’t post it.

#AcademicTwitter #SciTwitter #MedTwitter
Mistakes happen. If/when the do, try to remedy the situation and correct the problem.

Know that some content creators will ask that you remove a post entirely. Respect their wishes and do so.

#AcademicTwitter #SciArt
If people don’t know you’re on Twitter, they won’t know to follow you.

Add your Twitter handle to your email signature, business card, and slide decks. It’s an effective way to promote your presence without being pushy.

#AcademicTwitter #SciComm #MedTwitter #MedSci #SciTwitter
Know the signs of a troll before you meet one.

Trolls attack, insult, and demean. Do not engage them.

#AcademicTwitter, help other one another. If someone you follow interacts with a troll, send them a DM and encourage them to disengage. (Thank you @kevinfolta)
#AcademicTwitter A good way to identify a troll is to look at the feed before responding.

Is the person creating conversations?
Are they attacking others?
Do they operate on facts or fear?

Those questions should help you decide whether or not to engage with someone new.
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