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Guest Post: Sharing Professional Information on Twitter

By Barbara Gastel | Sept. 28, 2015

[Last week guest blogger Parvathy Hariharan provided general tips on sharing professional information on social media. This week she is focusing specifically on Twitter. Thanks very much, Parvathy! —Barbara]

Twitter is a popular space for communication both within the research community and more generally. Although a tweet contains only 140 characters, it can be a great way to convey a targeted and timely message. Here are some basic pointers:

  • Manage your newsfeed by organizing it. Categorize the accounts you follow into lists using the settings icon on your profile. For instance, create a list for your local colleagues, one for other researchers in your country, one for international researchers, and so on. When you follow a new account, add it to one of your lists using the settings icon next to the “Follow” button. Clicking on each list will give you updates from all the accounts that it includes.
  • Compose a complete message, and then edit it to fit within the character limit. If needed, you can send a series of numbered tweets. For example, include the designation (1/2) in one tweet and (2/2) in another. To shorten long URLs, use resources like bitly.com and ow.ly.
  • Know what your audience wants and when it is most active. Retweeting and responding during  times of peak activity—for example, during conferences—will help expand your audience. Use relevant hashtags to increase visibility.

Remember that your account is like a permanent online footprint. Try to have a professional-sounding, relevant Twitter handle that you can use for a long time. When tweeting research news, make sure not to accidentally reveal confidential data or patient information. Respond promptly when people request details about subjects of your tweets.

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