Welcome to day Two of #RUL10DoT.
Twitter only allows you to send 140 characters, which doesn’t seem much. In academia, we almost always write at length about complex ideas, so it’s difficult to say something meaningful in such a short amount of text. But that doesn’t mean that Twitter is superficial or only used to tweet about frivolous things. Many people, especially in an HE context, who are new to Twitter aren’t sure what to say, or why updates about whatever they’re doing would be interesting to others. But there are actually many aspects of your day-to-day work that would be of very practical use to others. Have a look at some Twitter feeds from academic tweeters and see what kinds of information they share, to get an idea of how you really can say something useful and engaging in 140 characters.
The appropriate tone for a professional twitter account needn’t be overly formal – you can be chatty and conversational, and allow your personality to come through. In fact, you’ll have to be a bit informal if you want to fit everything in, using abbreviations and even textspeak! Even if tweeting on behalf of a department or group, you need to be engaging rather than formal. Do remember though, if you’re tweeting in any professional capacity, that Twitter is a very public medium, and that your tweets can be kept by others, even if you delete them (more on this on Day 10). Don’t say anything you wouldn’t normally say openly in a work context.
Some examples of what you might tweet about:
•an article you’re reading that’s interesting or a book you recommend
•an online resource you’ve stumbled across
•a workshop, webinar, seminar or conference you’re going to – others may not have known about it, may want to meet you if they’re also going to be there, or may want to ask you about it if they can’t make it
•a new person you met today who might be a good contact for you or others in future
•some insight on academic work from an incident that happened today
•advice, tips or insights into how you teach or research for students or other colleagues
•a question asked by a student or colleague that made you think
•slides from a talk or lecture which you’ve just uploaded online
•your thoughts on an education or other news story relevant to your work
•a funding, project or job opportunity you’ve just seen
•a digital tool or software you’re using or problem you’ve solved with it
•a typical day – an insight into an academic’s life or moral support
•your new publication or report which has just come out (there are ways of mentioning this gracefully!)
Sending a tweet is really easy – when you’re logged into Twitter, you’ll see a box on the left hand side, which says ‘Compose a tweet’. If you click in the box, you’ll be able to write your tweet and then click the ‘Tweet’ button. You can also use the feather quill pen icon in the top right of the screen to compose.