Sunday, November 27, 2011

Twitter for academics

I've been using Twitter as a tool for work for almost three years now and it's one of the most important sources of information about work-related topics that I use. Very few people I know in Swedish higher education use Twitter and although I can understand a healthy bit of skepticism I think there should also be a bit more informed curiosity and willingness to experiment. Most colleagues simply can't see a use for Twitter and many see it only as a medium for updating friends about where you are or what you're eating just now. Twitter is sadly mostly associated with celebrities and chit-chat. It took me a few months before I realized the potential of Twitter but once I realized it just took off!

My Twitter Followers by Brajeshwar, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Brajeshwar 

However if you're doing research or just want to keep up with the latest news and articles in your field Twitter is invaluable. I've built up a network of around 400 people who I follow on Twitter (too many I suspect) and all work with various aspects of e-learning. I get a constant stream of links to relevant articles, news and videos that I can dip into any time and this forms the basis of my own blog posts and articles. I in turn tweet links to all the articles and news I find every day to anyone who wishes to follow me (@alacre).

A new guide has been produced by the London School of Economics to help academics discover the benefits of using Twitter as an integral part of their research activities, Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities. This is a downloadable guide taking you through the most important features in Twitter and heling you to create your own network and using Twitter with your students. The contents of the guide are sumarised as follows:

  • Building your following and managing your profile 
  • Using Twitter to maximise the impact of your research project 
  • Making the most of Twitter alongside your own blog
  •  Using course accounts with students 
  • A step by step guide to adding a Twitter feed to Moodle 
  • Extra resources and links to blog posts and articles on academic blogging and impac

Have a look at the guide and I think you'll see that there are many benefits in getting started with Twitter. The authors of the guide are keen to get feedback so feel free to contact them at

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