I’ve written before about how best to use Twitter and how Twitter is ideal for building communities and engaging with others. But it still surprises me how many regular Twitterati still don’t really understand how to use Twitter to get the full benefits from it.

Content is everything – even with a limited number of characters*

If you’re a science tweeter then don’t forget that social media content linked to published papers (including your papers) now count towards a paper’s individual article metrics. Even when discussing the paper with others, or maybe a blog mentioning the paper, if you don’t include the URL linking the tweet direct to a paper, then the tweet doesn’t count towards the paper’s metrics. Here’s an example from our own tweets:

Adult survival declines as African Penguin population plummets #theBOUblog from @IBIS_journal

This looks absolutely fine as it is. It links to the blog (which contains a link to the paper), uses a key #hashtag and mentions the host, @IBIS_journal – it might be our own tweet but no harm in making sure readers know it’s our paper. But, as it stands, it doesn’t have a link to the actual paper, and with 23 characters left to use this is too good an opportunity not to link to it. So, the tweet we used became:

Adult survival declines as African Penguin population plummets #theBOUblog @IBIS_journal paper

140 characters on the nose and the tweet now scores towards the paper’s altmetric score.

Linking content to other #ornithology Twitterati

It does no harm either to include authors in the tweet if they are on Twitter, or their research institute – if you know who they are or have time to check. More frequently we add names of organisations when known, e.g. adding @_BTO for Bird Study (#BirdStudy) tweets, and @Birdlife_news when linking to papers in Bird Conservation International (#BCI) tweets.

Including other Twitter users increases the chance of your tweet being retweeted by them or their followers and so increasing the reach of what you’re saying or promoting.

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* Post originally written when Twitter was limited to 140 character tweets (remember them?!)

More social media blogs from the BOU

Twitter #masterclass 1 – #hashtags and retweets
Twitter #masterclass 2 – stop using auto-generated tweets
Twitter #masterclass 3 – editing and structuring your tweets
Twitter #masterclass 4 – organise your incoming tweets
Making social media and the web work for you
Social media is relevant to your research
The benefits of blogging about your research
What is Altmetric?
What do you mean you ‘don’t know how to optimize your paper for SEO?!
Twitter – building an online ornithological community
The global ornithological online community
Ornithological Twitterati, Tweetie-pies and #birdieluv

Blog with #theBOUblog

If you want to write about your research in #theBOUblog, then please see here.