Wednesday, 18 October 2017

5 Steps to tweet your research at conferences effectively | Editage Insights


5 Steps to tweet your research at conferences effectively

Elena Milani | Oct 12, 2017 | 584 views

5 Steps to tweet your research at conferences effectively
since I started my PhD (and even before) I’ve been told about the
importance of using social media for communicating about my research.
But, just like every other PhD student and early career researcher, I
spend most of my time doing research and writing about my project.
So how do you use social media to
promote your research effectively, if you don’t have any time? The
solution is simpler than you can imagine: tweet your conference
presentation. Among all social media platforms, Twitter is probably the
most effective platform for talking about and promoting your research
online. It has the potential to reach the academic community,
stakeholders, professionals, and general public.
Why should you do it? Live tweeting your
conference presentations efficiently helps you communicate your
research, improve networking, and start new collaborations. The academic
community is on Twitter, and you can reach your target public with your
messages. This brings us to the very important question of how do you
tweet your presentations while you are at a conference? In short, how do
you live-tweet during a conference you are presenting at?
These few steps are all you need to help you tweet your presentations.
1. Prepare the tweets before the conference
Tweets are messages of 140 characters
that include a short message, relevant hashtags, a web link and/or a
picture. You should prepare them before going to the conference. You
don’t need many tweets: on Twitter, you can’t explain everything about
your research, but each time you tweet, you should provide a key message
about your project that can be understood independently as well as in
the context of the presentation.
You could prepare some tweets in advance like the ones below:
  • One tweet to promote
    your talk before speaking at the conference: The idea is to let other
    attendees know about your presentation and work, and you can engage with
    them on Twitter; this tweet should include the presentation title and
    the name of the conference. You could tag relevant people as well,
    including the conference organizers.
  • One tweet to introduce
    your presentation: Make sure this tweet includes the presentation title
    and the conference you are attending. Also, include a picture of your
    first slide or the abstract.
  • Anything between three
    to eight tweets that provide the key messages about your research: Share
    key slides from your slide deck and highlight the key message from
To prepare these tweets, you can follow the simple steps listed below:
  • Write a short abstract of the research in bullet points and include objects, findings, and why it’s important and/or innovative.
  • Reduce the bullet
    points to 4-6 in total and shorten each sentence. Cut out jargon,
    details, and anything that is not necessary to convey the main message.
  • Add relevant hashtags
    (more about hashtags below) and names of people you want to mention
    (e.g. your university, your co-authors, your funders…people you think
    may be interested in your work).
  • Rephrase each sentence
    to make it meaningful, concise, and of 140 characters. If your tweet
    exceeds 140 characters, anything you type from the 141st character won’t
    appear and your tweet will appear incomplete.
  • Review your tweets and ask a colleague or a friend whether they are clear and easy to understand.
By following these steps, you can
frame tweets to explain your research efficiently. After your
presentation, you can also share links related to your research (project
or profile page on the university website, ResearchGate profile), or to
one of your publications relevant to your talk. Encourage readers to
ask questions about your research or to follow you on Twitter and other
social media accounts (e.g. LinkedIn or ResearchGate).
2. Use media
I always suggest tweeting pictures, such
as those of relevant slides or charts, because images increase the
visibility of tweets, especially the screenshot of the conference
abstract. If you don’t have any relevant images, don’t feel compelled to
include irrelevant images. Instead of thinking of images as a
’decorative’ element, treat them as visual messages that reinforce the
text in the tweet.
One of the problems regarding the use of
images is the copyright; always use images you own or credit the
original source. If your presentation includes data that you plan to
include in journal publication in the future, it might be safer not to
share such data.
3. Choose the right hashtag         
Hashtags are keywords formed by one or
more words preceded by a hash sign (#); for example, #PhDadvice or
#HigherEd. Hashtags label conversations on Twitter, and people search
for or tweet including a specific hashtag when they want to join the
Most academic conferences have hashtags;
for example the Science in Public conference in Sheffield (UK), in July
2017, used #SIPsheff17, so everybody attending the conference or
talking about it on Twitter used this hashtag in their tweets. Make sure
your tweets include the hashtag of the conference, if there is one. You
should also include other hashtags relevant to your topic and your
target audience. Through Twitter hashtags, you can reach both the
participants of the conference and public who won’t attend it but are
potentially interested in your work.
In addition to the conference hashtag,
you can add 1-3 hashtags relevant to your presentation. If you don’t
know what hashtags to use, you can consult hashtag databases such as
SciHashtag and or platforms such as and
RiteTag to find them. Before using a hashtag, always check its stream,
because it may be not used anymore or it may be a false friend: some
hashtags, even if they have words related to our research topic, may
label conversations are not relevant at all. Most hashtag search
platforms also indicate whether a particular hashtag is in use,
trending, or obsolete. Using a wrong hashtag will not give your tweets
the attention they deserve.
4. Ask a colleague to tweet your talk
If a colleague is attending the same
conference, you can ask him/her to tweet your presentation in real time.
Provide the tweets and your Twitter handle as well. You could also
share the tweets you prepared with them and ask them to tweet on your
behalf. If your colleague isn’t at conference, you can do the live
tweeting by scheduling the tweets 10-15 minutes after the presentation
starts, using platforms such as TweetDeck, Hootsuite or Buffer.
Scheduling the tweets with a certain delay is very important just in
case the presentation starts late.
5. Reply to questions on Twitter
After your live tweeting, you may
receive several Twitter notifications of retweets or favourites of your
messages. You may also receive Direct Messages or mentions with
questions, comments, and concerns, from academics or professionals
interested in your work. These mentions and messages indicate that you
were able to communicate your research well, and they offer an
opportunity to engage with other scholars and stakeholders. Don’t ignore
these messages and try to reply to them to the best of your ability.
Thank those who compliment you, try to address the concerns of those who
doubt your work, and move the conversation to private message. Email
those who want to know more about your research or suggest a future
collaboration. You may also come across people who use harsh words. We
may also come across people who insult us, and in this case, the best
course of action is to ignore them.
Live tweeting not only helps raise
awareness but also increases engagement and draws attention. Arming
yourself with the right tools, preparing your tweets in advance, and
planning well will help you live tweet your research effectively.  
Related reading:

Is your research viral yet? Researchers and social media

5 Steps to tweet your research at conferences effectively | Editage Insights

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