Q1 Tell us something you’ve discovered using Twitter over the last 10 days. Best hashtags? Favourite accounts? New way of working? People to talk to?
Q2 From one of your classmates:
Q3 What frustrations or reservations do you have about using Twitter?
Q4 More broadly, have you come to see Twitter’s purpose or role differently in the last 10 days?
Q5 What questions do you still have about Twitter?
If you’re interested to see what a live chat with a larger #UofT10DoT class looks like, you can check out the Storified live chat from our last grad student iteration of the class here.
Housekeeping: After the class, we’ll tweet out and email a link for an evaluation form. We look forward to your feedback on #UofT10DoT!
Bonus topic: Altmetrics
We mentioned altmetrics — metrics based on social scholarship — in the Day 1 introductory session, but didn’t come back to it over the 10 days. You may want to check out the Altmetrics page in the Library’s Research Impact guide.
organizing our own #UofT10DoT Day 10 live chat – don’t forget, it’s tomorrow (April 28), at 2:30 – we’ll go ahead even though there will be just a few of us
teaching with Twitter
A live chat on Twitter (aka a Twitter chat or tweet chat) is a conversation which takes place synchronously, in real time. A live chat may of course break out spontaneously, but the term more often refers to an organized affair, with moderators or leaders and a pre-set time, topic and hashtag. It may be a one-off or a regularly held “meeting.” The moderators generally use questions or prompts (typically four or five) to get the conversation rolling, and may ask the group for suggestions beforehand. Here are two examples of regularly scheduled chats:
MedEdChat – it takes place on Thursdays, so you could see it in action tonight if interested
#withaPhD – “for graduate students, academics, and anyone else who has or may wish to have PhD experience.”
Livechats can be fast and furious, but a great way to discuss, make new contacts (and get followers) and share experiences. A key rule to remember is use the hashtag–otherwise your contributions to the conversation will be invisible except to your followers (yes, this seems obvious but it’s easy to forget in the rush to reply). After the fact, the chat is often Storified, with the link tweeted out so anyone interested can catch up with what was discussed. Here’s an #acwri chat on writing journal articles. Of January’s #DLNchat [Digital Learning Network] on building cultures of experimentation in higher ed.
When you arrive in the chat, say hello (unless you want to lurk – not applicable to the #UofT10Dot chat, though). If you’re chatting with strangers, you may be asked to introduce yourself, say a few words about who you are, where you’re from (in an academic conversation, often your institution) and/or why you’re there. The moderators will ask the questions one at a time and allow the group to respond.
How do you find out about live chats? Moderators promote Twitter chats in advance, so you may find them through your regular Twitter feed or through particular hashtags. You can try searching on “Twitter chat” in the Twitter search bar, though you will likely have to wade through a lot of irrelevant material. And of course, you can always ask!
#UofT10Dot live chat: April 28, 2:30
Moderators: @EvelineLH (tweeting on @UofT10DoT) & @JesseCarliner
Questions: do you have any questions you’d like us to discuss as a group? Please tweet your suggestions. We’ll post the questions in the Day 10 blogpost and again during the live chat.
Tweeting at a conference (and before and after the conference)
Twitter for conference organizers
We want to know what you think about Twitter and conferences. Have you already used Twitter at a conference? Do you think you will in the future? Have you followed along via Twitter even though you didn’t go? Do you have more conference tips for the group? Please let us know (with #UofT10DoT of course).
Tweeting at a conference
Using Twitter in a conference setting can be incredibly rewarding. You’re in a physical space surrounded by people interested in the same things you are, but it’s not always easy to meet the right people or to get the conversation started. Twitter allows you to connect with others at a conference with very little formality. See a tweet in the conference stream that intrigues you? Engage with that user! Once you’ve got the conversation started, meeting in person becomes a lot easier. Pretty soon you’ll be starting conversations with, “I follow you on Twitter!” like a pro. Conferences also present you with an opportunity to find more people to follow and get followers yourself.
Important tip: expectations around Twitter usage and Twitter etiquette at conferences can vary from discipline to discipline, conference to conference. For example, some scientists are concerned about not-yet-peer-reviewed results getting coverage. Others may be concerned about sharing research that is sensitive in nature. If you’re not sure about Twitter etiquette in a particular context, ask! Or wait to see what others are doing. We list some further readings on conference etiquette at the end. Please let us know if you know of others.
Planning to attend
As you’re looking through the conference program, look up panelists you’re interested in hearing and start following them now. You may even want to send out a tweet indicating that you’re looking forward to their session.
Giving a talk? Let your followers know you’ll be speaking, and point them to the abstract or program if it’s online.
Figure out the conference hashtag and save it, either as a search (if you’re using the Twitter app), or as a stream if you’re using TweetDeck or HootSuite (we’ll get to these tomorrow). Most programs and websites list the hashtag, but if you can’t find it, try searching the full conference name on Twitter and see if anyone’s tweeted about it yet. You can also follow the conference’s Twitter account for more formal announcements.
At a small conference where there hasn’t been a hashtag assigned? You can start one! Remember to keep it short so it doesn’t eat too far into the 140 character limit. The organization’s acronym + the year (or last two digits of the year) often make the most sense—but try searching that hashtag to see if it’s busy in another context first. #NBAmeet may mean “National Biology Association meeting” to you, but your conference stream is going to get very, very full with basketball fans!
Particularly at a large conference, you may want to add a second hashtag for the session number.
At a Conference
There are lots of different things you can tweet during a session. You might tweet:
Quotes from the presenter that resonated with you
Screenshots of the presenter’s slides (but note this is sometimes frowned upon!)
Links to papers or websites the presenter has referenced (if you know them)
Points you disagree with and why
What you’re going to take away from the session
Other sessions you recommend based on this one.
Again, be careful of what’s appropriate in your particular context.
Outside of sessions you may want to attend at a conference, you may want to organize some kind of meet-up with people you meet on Twitter. And when Twitter friends meet up, it’s of course called a Tweetup! (People [‘peeps’] you know from Twitter? They’re your tweeps!)
Particularly if you’re in a new city, you might be hesitant about meeting up with a group of strangers. This is why people using their real name, a photo of themselves, and a school and program of study is really important for building community. But do always meet for the first time in a public place!
If you’d like people to tweet about your session, put the conference hashtag and your @username on the first slide. This way audience members know who to credit. If you don’t want people to tweet (or photograph your slides, etc.), say so.
If you’re going to be giving a short talk where you mention lots of other talks or websites, you might want to schedule a couple of tweets to go out into the hashtag during your talk (scheduling tweets is on the agenda tomorrow). That way people following along will see the resources around the time you mention them. Or you may just want to upload your slides or paper to your personal website and schedule a tweet to go out at the end.
After the conference
Conference hashtags are typically quite busy for a few days after it wraps up. Presenters are sharing their session’s slides or notes, and attendees may be reflecting on what resonated most, or what they’re most excited to apply to their own work.
Running a conference
Sometimes, you’re on the other side of the table! If you’re running a conference, here are some things to do to encourage tweeting:
Figure out how you, as organizers, should be using twitter. Who, if anyone, will be doing the official conference tweeting? Do you want to promote certain sessions? Do you want to use Twitter to gather feedback? Will you be Storifying later?
Pick a hashtag. Put it in the program. Put it in all the tweets about the conference. You may also want to get a separate account for the conference, especially if you want to tweet both as the conference organizer and as an attendee with opinions about particular session.
Ask people for their twitter handle when they register, then print it in big letters on their badge. This makes it much easier for attendees to recognize people from their only network
If the wifi requires a password, consider printing that on the back of the badge. Nothing is worse than arriving at a conference across the border (i.e. the data-usage danger zone), not knowing anyone, and not knowing how to get online and meet people!
You’re probably going to be running around all day. Use scheduling tools to your advantage! Have a keynote speaker at 2 o’clock? Schedule a reminder tweet for 1:30. Schedule tweets prompting attendees to give feedback at the end. Map it out, schedule it, and forget it.
Let’s Have a Discussion About Live-Tweeting Academic Conferences Jon Tennant, Geologist, Imperial College London
(Note that he thinks it’s never okay to photograph and tweet conference slides. A counter argument is that the nature of the material on the slide should determine this, and the wishes of the presenter. Of course, it’s always a judgement call.)
A hashtag tags a tweet with a keyword that categorizes it and makes it more findable. It’s Twitter metadata. You can click on the hashtag in a tweet to bring up other tweets on the topic or you can search for hashtags in the search box. In Twitter itself, you cannot follow hashtags the way you follow people, but there are apps that let you set up feeds for as many hashtags as you like (as you’ll see on Day 8, Apps for managing the conversation).
Anyone can create a hashtag. A hashtag needs to be a single word, preceded by the # (hash) symbol, with no spaces or other characters. It doesn’t need to be a real word – it can be an acronym of some sort, like #UofT10DoT — but it needs to be understood, known or guessed by the people it’s relevant to. It could even be several words run into one (which counts as one word) such as #RuinADateWithAnAcademicInFiveWords (this sums it up) or #overlyhonestmethods.
Generally, though, above anything else it should be short, so that it doesn’t use up too many characters. Tip: if you’re using more than one word, adding in capital letters can make the hashtag more readable, e.g. #ShePersisted. It doesn’t make a difference to searching the hashtag – as football fans annoyed by bird pictures found out.
Finding an already established hashtag can sometimes be tricky, since abbreviations are often used. You may need to search several variations before you hit on the right one. You can also check out people in your field to see what they use. And check out these 11 essential hashtags for academics.
Hashtags are crucial to live-tweeting, that is, tweeting in an ongoing way about a live event, from a news happening to a hockey game to a conference session. The hashtag brings all the relevant tweets together in a rolling feed. We’ll talk more about live-tweeting when we talk about Twitter and conferences. And hashtags can be great way to build community.
Hashtags can also be used as commentary (or meta-hashtag) on the main message of the tweet:
Today’s assignment: find some hashtags that are useful to you and tweet about it! Or contribute to a discussion in your field using a hashtag that’s relevant to your research. If you’re having trouble finding the right hashtags, tweet about that too.
And since it’s Friday, you may want to check out #FollowFriday, though you’ll probably find the academic equivalent, #ScholarSunday, to be more useful. Friday also has #FridayReads and others.
Tweeting using a topic hashtag is a great way to get noticed. Are people (outside the class) replying to you or following you?
Reminder: no “class” over the weekend. We’re back on Monday. Happy tweeting!
Following people fills your Twitter feed with (hopefully) interesting and useful content. Getting followed yourself allows you to share your messages and engage in the online scholarly conversation.
Today we’re looking at:
how to follow people
how to identify accounts you want to follow
how to attract followers yourself
Today’s housekeeping task: you need to follow everyone in the class – which also gives you built-in followers! Some of you have started to do this already. You’ll get to know a bit about your classmates in the process. We suggest you search on #UofT10Dot and follow everyone who has used this hashtag in the last few days (make sure you click on All and not just Top tweets). While you’re at it, please doublecheck you’ve used this hashtag at least once in your own tweets, so your classmates can find you.
How to follow people
It’s simple: go to someone’s account (by clicking on their name in a Tweet or searching for them) and click the Follow button. They’ll be notified, so they may check you out and follow you back. To give them a reason to follow you, make sure your profile is engaging (see Day 1) and that you’ve sent out some tweets (Day 2) for them to get a sense of what you talk about. Unfollowing is just as simple (but there’s no notification).
How to identify accounts you want to follow
Suggestions from Twitter. Twitter makes suggestions based on what it knows about you, e.g. who else you follow, so if your account is new, it can be a bit hit and miss. Some people give up at this point, thinking it’s all celebrities, news and people tweeting about their breakfast!
Search for names you know. This works best if the names aren’t too common. Suggestions: faculty in your department, big names in your field, your favourite academic bloggers, your favourite author/singer/athlete… In addition to people, you can also search for organizations in your field, journal names, funding bodies, educational institutions….
Search by topic at RightRelevance to find influencers in your area. This is a new-to-us site, so we’d like to get your feedback on how useful or accurate you find it. You can also check out ongoing conversations or articles. Note that at a certain point it will ask you to log in.
Check out the lists of academics on Twitter from Day 2
See who’s talking about topics you’re interested in via hashtags (we’ll look at hashtags more on Day 5)
Follow some sources on academic life. Suggestions (there are many more!):
When you follow someone, also check out who they follow for more ideas on who to follow.
#FollowFriday or #ScholarSunday– on Fridays you can tweet the names of people you think are worth following to others. Watch out for these, or tweet your followers and ask them for recommendations! More useful for academic purposes is #ScholarSunday, invented by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega.
Today’s assignment: Go find some new people to follow! Then tweet about it to the class. Who/what did you follow and why? If you want to see what kinds of reasons people give, check out #ScholarSunday.
Getting followers yourself
If you’re at all active on Twitter, your followers will naturally snowball. Want things to go faster? Check out some of the advice here:
What sorts of topics you might want to tweet about
Twitter only lets you send out 140 characters at a time—just one or two sentences. But that length doesn’t mean that Twitter is superficial, or only used to tweet about frivolous things.
Many people new to Twitter aren’t sure what to say, or why updates on what they’re doing would be interesting to others. There are actually many aspects of your day-to-day work that would be of practical use to others. Have a look at some Twitter feeds from academic tweeters; seeing what kinds of information they share will help you get an idea of how you really can say something useful and engaging in 140 characters:
Hint: you may want to click on their Tweets & replies to get a sense of their conversations. You’ll only see one side of the conversation though, unless you also follow the other person. You can also click on a specific tweet to see the responses to it.
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! Just remember that Twitter is a very public medium; 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 or website you recommend – and include the link!
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
some insight on academic work from an incident that happened today
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!)
include a photo or image with your tweet. BTW Twitter’s algorithm preferences tweets with images in user feeds
something from your life off the academic clock
Sending a tweet is really easy, though the ‘Compose’ button lives in different places depending on the device you’re on. When you’re logged into Twitter on your desktop, a box at the top of the feed will ask, “What’s Happening?” You’ll also see a box at the top of your newsfeed, as well as a button in the top right hand corner beckoning you to tweet.
Remember: you only get 140 characters, including spaces. As you type your tweet, a small counter below this box which tells you how many characters you have left. Once you’re over, the count will go negative, and all extra letters will be highlighted in red. You will not be able to hit the ‘Tweet’ button until you’re at 140 or less.
You’ll soon learn the tricks to abbreviate your writing, such as using ‘&’ instead of ‘and’. This all adds to the informal tone.
One quirk to Tweet-length rules is that all URLs will take up 22 characters, even if they’re very short or very long (even when it displays much longer, as in the above image). Regardless, you may want to use a URL shortener like Bitly or the Google URL Shortener to make your tweets looks cleaner.
For your first message, please tweet out some version of the following:
Joining in #UofT10DoT with @UofT10DoT, @JesseCarliner & @EvelineLH
2. Then write a tweet completing this sentence (or your own variation):
What I want to learn in #UofT10DoT: …
3. (Optional). Practice composing 140-character messages by posting even more tweets. Try commenting on/linking to something academic … or non-academic. Or post a picture or video.
For all your tweets, please make sure to include the hashtag #UofT10DoT as we do in our tweets. If you click on this hashtag in a message, you’ll be able to see your classmates’ tweets. We’ll talk more about the uses of hashtags in a few days.
Over the next nine days, we’ll be sending out many different types of tweets (questions, private messages, quotes, etc.), but that’s all for today!
You’ll want to create an effective and engaging profile. Who do you want to be on Twitter? How do you want to present yourself? Or, what part of yourself? This is sometimes referred to as building a digital/online identity or “personal branding.”
The first thing to think about:
your handle (@name), which people will use to identify and direct messages to you. This might be some version of your real name or, if your name is common and most variations of it have already been taken, you might think of a professional and memorable pseudonym which people associate with you in some way. Don’t worry – you can change this later without losing your followers or tweets, and you can also add your real name to your profile so that it’s identifiably you.
There are more things to think about, but don’t feel you have to tackle these all at once:
your avatar or profile picture, which is how people will pick your tweets out of their Twitter feed, at a quick glance. You’ll want to upload a picture pretty quickly — the default egg signals that you’re a newbie or spammer.
your identifying information, such as your location and personal website or webpage. Make sure your name shows up somewhere (unless you actually want to be anonymous).
your bio or strapline, which will sum up who you are and why people might want to follow you. A blank or minimal bio isn’t very inviting, and suggests that you are too new to be interesting, that there is little to be gained from following you, or you are a spam account. A well-thought out bio is an important part of gaining new followers. Have a look at the bios on other tweeters’ profiles, and see what you find inviting or off-putting. If you intend to tweet in a strictly professional capacity, you may want to avoid too much about your hobbies and family or quirky, cryptic statements about yourself. On the other hand, many people intertwine the personal and the professional on Twitter – cat pictures and craft beer reviews interspersed with research tweets. You’ll have to find your own comfort zone. And whatever you decide now, it’s not carved in stone.
the overall look of your twitter profile, which makes it distinct and memorable when people view it; for example, add a header photo
if you have an event or announcement you want to highlight, you might want to use a pinned tweet, which keeps that tweet at the top. You can unpin the tweet at any time.