Ten Days of Twitter

Ten Days of Twitter, or, in twitterspeak, #STEM10DoT !

Beginning 1st July 2013

Twitter is in many ways very simple to use- it’s just a micro-blogging social media platform on which you can post 140 character ‘tweets’ which your followers can see, and you can follow other people to see what they’re sharing. Sounds easy, and in fact, setting up an account, following people and sending tweets is easy.

And yet… for such a simple platform, Twitter is pretty complex. It’s not the functionality, so much as the conventions (@, #, RT, etc), the strategies for tweeting effectively and building a network, the plethora of ‘apps’ or third party tools to add on… Not to mention thinking about why a researcher in the Sciences might want to use such a platform, and what they might use it to achieve, other than sharing celebrity gossip and what you had for breakfast.

Over the next ten days, we’ll be exploring Twitter together. During each of the Ten Days of Twitter, I’ll be sharing a daily short post on a small aspect of Twitter, to get you up and running and exploring what Twitter might offer you.  Throughout, I’ll be focussing very practically on what Twitter can offer an early career, and indeed any researcher, in the Sciences. None of these activities will take up very much of your time, so I hope it will be a worthwhile experiment for you! We’ll be interacting with each other too on Twitter, so you’ll be building up your network of other science researchers at Cambridge very quickly, and it will grow beyond your immediate context just as fast!

One important thing to remember: whenever you tweet about the programme, use the hashtag #STEM10DoT so that we can find each other initially. I’ll explain more later!

I have to admit, when I first explored Twitter, I was very sceptical – what could I possibly say that was of any academic or professional value in 140 characters? And why would anyone care to know what I was saying? How could Twitter possibly enhance my work in any way, other than a fun way to distract myself from real work? I’m now a real convert, and I must say that Twitter is now the social media tool I use most and which has been of the most practical value in my work and my career. Who’d have thought?

I hope you’ll join me for Ten Days of Twitter – give it a chance, give it time for your network to build and get to know you, explore what it can do for you and make up your own mind! To join in, click ‘Follow this blog’ in the right hand margin, and you’ll receive an email when I make the first post and the Ten Days begins.

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