27 July 2012

So you want to get into Twitter...

A few folks have asked me since my last post about time management and strategies for setting up twitter. I'm no expert, but I've been around twitter for awhile and have had a few accounts which I've found to be very fulfilling. Here's a quick to-do list, based on my own management strategies and conversations with other tweeters (also assuming you want to set it up for science networking).

  • Set up a profile to make it easy for folks to find you. Use tag words for your research (this is a good exercise to do anyway for other professional development reasons), and include a link to your blog or your lab's webpage.
  • How to find people to follow? Post on Facebook, Google+, etc to find friends who already tweet. Then look at the list of people they follow for suggestions. Do a quick search for things about which you'd like to read. Look at the lists people have linked to their profiles. They're usually arranged by categories, and you can see which people are important to others.
  • How do you get followers? Be nice, and don't be annoying (I personally dislike people who ask for follow backs, which doesn't seem to happen in the science world). Start tweeting! You might find it easier to also reply to other people. You'll be surprised at how your knowledge might help inform others' opinions or answer their questions. I like starring tweets (making the tweet a favorite) to find them later, or to acknowledge I've read it and appreciate it.
  • What to tweet? Get a paper published? Interesting research article about your field of study released? Going to a conference? Looking for quick opinions or advice? Tweet it! 
  • How much time is this going to take? However much time you'd like. It takes me only a few seconds to do anything on twitter (follow people, write a tweet, reply). I like to use it for breaks during the day to refresh my brain but not get too sidetracked from thinking about science. My graduate advisor, @JChrisPires, reads his timeline and tweets at night while watching TV. Don't feel like you need to read everything! Twitter is a party. Don't feel like you have to know everyone to follow, keep tabs on everyone, and constantly update. Make lists! I have mine arranged categorically, and one for people I want to read all the time.
Hope this helps. Tweet at me! I'll follow you!

No comments: