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Using Twitter as a Doctoral Researcher #tgsfridays @bioSimonUoB Simon Bishop, Doctoral Researcher, School of Biosciences
What is Twitter?• Twitter is a short messaging service where users ‘tweet’ short messages of up to 140 characters (including letters, numbers, spaces, symbols and links) Link ‘shortening’ services redirect long URLs
• Tweets appear in chronological order on a user’s timeline http://twitter.com/PlanAustralia
#hashtags• A way to group conversations• Twitter follows everybody using the hashtag in real time• Often TV programmes and shows use hashtags to encourage discussion• Anybody can join in, anywhere• Great for conferences• Some examples: – #bbcqt – #Xfactor – #TeamGB – #GBBO – #PrehistoricAutopsy
• It’s your responsibility as researchers to talk about your work• Taxpayer money funds research• There is a knowledge and trust divide between scientists and the public which we, as researchers, need to bridge “Trust is not about information; it’s about dialogue and transparency*”• If you’re not out there talking, nobody will know about your work• The best person to explain your research is you• Funding often now requires evidence of outreach *Managing the Trust Portfolio: Science Public Relations and Social Responsibility – Borchelt, Friedman & Holland, 2010
• Social media is an excellent tool for public engagement, sharing of literature and ideas, debate and data collection• Keep up to date – news, papers, trends and opinions• Social media transcends cultural, geographical, publication and professional barriers• Networking opportunities are huge• Exposure can help with funding and citations (Twitter data can be quantified)
Points to remember, part 1• Whatever you post, imagine that it WILL be read by: – Your family – Your boss – Your competitor• Always consider your audience, the limitations of that audience, and your online profile
• It’s not the campaign, it’s how you respond to it• Even within academia, branding (of self) is important: be reputable, show integrity, have the content to back you (or your work) up• People can see the real you (you can keep it formal if you wish)
Points to remember, part 2• Don’t feed the trolls• Never post when tired or drunk• Be aware of language issues and loss of language subtlety• Be aware of peak times and time zones• Be polite and give credit – HT, via, MT, RT• Never post unpublished data or confidential information. Ever. Not one bit. No no.
Crowdsourcing • “I asked on Twitter if anyone had experienced any outrageous sexism recently, and whilst I was expecting quite a few, amusingly stereotyped clangers, I wasn’t expecting the deluge that started 30 seconds after I inquired, and which carried on for nearly four days afterwards.”
Datamining “Reading the Riots” • Collaboration between Twitter, the Guardian and the LSE • Twitter donated 2.65 million tweets • Looking for patterns, underlying reasons for the riots, and the roles of individuals in spreading information (real and erroneous) about the riots http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/series/reading-the-riots http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2011/dec/07/london-riots-twitter
Policy and Response “#qldfloods and @QPSMedia: Crisis Communication on Twitter in the 2011 South East Queensland Floods” • Analysed Tweet data, focusing on use of Twitter by Queensland Police Service during crisis using #qldfloods • New research area into how social media is impacting our lives • Implications in psychology, IT and social sciences Arc Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI) http://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf
Twitter guide for academics:http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2011/09/29/twitter-guide/Social media for scientists:http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/09/27/social-media-for-scientists-part-1-its-our-job/Using Twitter as a research tool:http://placevalues.org/2012/02/03/using-twitter-as-a-research-tool/Analysing Twitter data:http://theplan.co.uk/cleaning-up-twitter-data-in-excel-for-analysis/Handbook of Social Media for Researchers and Supervisors (VITAE)http://www.vitae.ac.uk/CMS/files/upload/Vitae_Innovate_Open_University_Social_Media_Handbook_2012.pdfThanks to @UoBGradSchool, @unibirmingham, @AnneOsterrieder, @DrJPritchard, @EmergencyPuppy