There are many reasons for Academics to use Twitter. Not only is it a fast moving disseminator of new information, tips and research, it is also a valuable arena for Professional Learning and interaction.
A survey of 755 teachers in the US asked how and why teachers are using Twitter. It found teachers valued Twitter’s personalised, immediate nature and the positive professional collaborations it can encourage. Teachers reported Twitter can be used to combat teaching isolation – a problem for many teachers that can result in burnout and/or teachers leaving the profession.
Here are a few tips to ensure you get the most from Twitter.
#Know your Product
Your image is your product. The first step in creating an online presence in social media is to know your purpose. For example, do you want to disseminate, curate, or just connect to other educators and content?
#Find and engage with your Peers on Twitter
There are a few ways to do this:
- Search for your colleagues on Twitter
- Search via # for specific topics and who is interested in them eg. #HigherEducation, or #Chemistry
- Follow specific conversations and groups, here’s a great example you can engage with today…
The #HEdigID feed is relatively new, but seems to be going great guns. They provide focussed ‘all day’ chats monthly around specific topics with Higher Education peers. Here are some links through to previous Twitter chats to give you a flavour of the conversations:
#HEdigID Chat No. 4: Digital Opportunities & Networked Challenges
Hashtags worth checking include:
#HEAchat (Higher Education Academy)
#Be found by your Peers
There are lists for everything on Twitter, and this one might be interesting for you – “Academics Who Tweet”. You and your colleagues can be added to this list by leaving a comment on the list, or sending a message directly on Twitter to the list owner @laurapasquini
#Know your limits
Twitter has a limit of 280 characters per tweet
#Learn from the mistakes of others
Like everything, there are things you should keep an eye on when using Twitter…here is a good listing of 12 Rules to start with from The Online Academic Blog. You could also check out the 10 Commandments of Twitter for Academics by the Chronicle of Higher Education.
#Know your A-Z of Social
Get a quick overview of the changing social landscape terminology with this handy A-Z of social media in academia, from Times Higher Education.
#Hashtags for impact
Hashtags matter! When you add a # to your tweet, it is added to a listing of all other tweets using that hashtag. This can strengthen your impact, and engagement. Others can find you and your subject more easily and get a feel for the topics most prevalent to you as well.
#Searching for Hashtags or @signs?
Hashtags are subject-based, while @……..is your name or in Twitter-speak…your ‘Twitter Handle’. You can search on the account name or the Twitter Handle. A Twitter handle is the official Twitter address, so easier to search for and more specific. For example, if running a search for Learning Futures, you may be faced with 20 options, but if you know the handle @lf_griffith, you’ll get to your Twitter destination a lot faster.
#Who to follow
@lf_griffith – A shameless plug from us! We’d love you to check out our Learning Futures Twitter (lf_griffith) to see our published LF Press articles, stories and professional Learning opportunities at Griffith + things we’ve picked up on Twitter to help promote, inform and enhance our L&T in practice.
#Enjoy Social learning…and yourself
The beauty of twitter is that it is not usually bound by ‘time’ constraints, you can engage when you want to, with topics and conversations you find interesting. It’s a wild world out there on Twitter, so the occasional distraction (think Trump babies, singing cats etc) may take your attention…our advice…let it!