Visit Twitter.com to sign up and follow the instructions provided, making sure you ‘follow’ these five steps.
Step 1: Name
Step 2: Follow
Facebook has ‘Friends’, Twitter has ‘Followers’. Once you follow people you can see what they are talking about, these are called ‘tweets’. Therefore, follow people you find interesting, such as fellow researchers, organisations, societies and news networks.
Step 3: Tweet
A particular science news story may catch your attention or you may want to let the world know that your new research article has been published. You can ‘tweet’ this article, along with your thoughts or a catchy headline. You can also ‘tweet’ conference updates or ask research related questions.
Your ‘tweet’ needs to be fewer than 140 characters (if you can make it less than 120 characters this increases the chances of someone sharing your message). Thinking of a catchy title that is short and informative will also help you improve your communication and writing skills.
e.g. New research finding identifies new gene associated with #MND (insert link)
Step 4: Hashtags
Hashtags (#) are keywords or topics that people on Twitter are talking about. A particular subject or theme can be grouped by a hashtag. This is done so that users can view who is talking about a specific subject.
#phdchat is a hashtag to talk about your PhD research, ask other researchers for answers to questions and see that the PhD world is not as lonely as you previously thought.
e.g. Any hints or tips for writing my first paper? #phdchat
#encals is a hashtag for people talking about the European Network for the Cure of ALS conference. People can use the hashtag to see who is attending the event, tweets about sessions that they may not have gone to, as well as thoughts and comments.
This can be useful if you are unable to attend and want to know what is being discussed, or you are attending and want to comment on a session.
e.g. Who’s attending #encals in Sheffield this year?
e.g. Prof Pam Shaw just gave a great opening talk at #encals, what does everyone else think?
Step 5: Mentions
This is simply mentioning a fellow Twitter user in your ‘tweet’, you may be asking them a question specifically or mentioning them because they have worked on a recent publication with you.
e.g. @BelindaCupid are you attending #encals?
e.g. Just got my publication accepted, which is funded by @mndresearch, today!
A great guide is available to get you started on Twitter, which is specifically written for academics and researchers, and can be downloaded here.