Welcome to our November 2014 newsletter: Twitter – amping it up
First the Pope, now the Queen of England. Tweeting knows no boundaries.
‘The weak chirp of a young or small bird’ is how the Macquarie Dictionary defines the word ‘tweet’.
Are you chirping into the void? Is anyone listening? Do you even know? How can you amplify your chirp?
We’ve put together some tips to help you understand how to use Twitter for the greatest impact and how to check whether you are reaching those people you want to reach.
Check out our Social media for scientists workshop which has been a great success in Poland, where we have trained scientists from various disciplines on behalf of the Foundation for Polish Science.
Enjoy our tips and, as always, we’d love your feedback via Facebook, Twitter or email us.
Regards from the @EconnectTeam:
How I got hooked on Twitter
By Elisabeth Berry
I had never used Twitter and wondered whether it was worth it. A good friend suggested a simple exercise to help me decide: do a keyword search using the Twitter search tool.
I searched for ‘science communicator’ and in a matter of seconds I had found links to fascinating articles about loaded terms, explaining quantum physics to your granny, and how science communication is like busking.
Geeky grannies do exist – check out Grandma got STEM
I’m always keen to know what’s going on in the world of science and science communication, and out of this little exercise I got 4 things:
- I found great content, which my peers are talking about right now.
- I discovered very interesting people, worth following.
- I discovered a new and exciting way of keeping my finger on the pulse of current affairs in my profession.
- Perhaps most importantly, I can see how I might improve my own science communication.
These are the 3 tweets that got me hooked:
@invertenerd tweeted: Great article by @DNLee5 about loaded terms and science communication…
@guardianscience tweeted: A good science communicator can explain quantum physics to granny.
@kirkenglehardt tweeted: Science communicator or street performer? … It’s okay to be a bit of both.
Who on earth is reading my tweets?
By Alison Binney
Like most tools in a communicator’s toolbox, it is the skill of the user that determines the performance.
Twitonomy is one of the better, though surprisingly less well known, tools for analysing your Twitter performance.
The free version gives you a breakdown of:
- tweets per day
- how many links you’ve shared
- how often other people mentioned you in their tweets
- the people you retweeted most often
- the people to whom you replied the most
- the hashtags you used the most
- your tweets that were retweeted the most
- your tweets that were ‘favourited’ the most
- your retweeted tweets – how many had links and how many had hashtags.
Twitonomy also shows who are the most influential people that have retweeted you based on how many followers they have.
Perhaps the best feature of all is a map showing the locations of people who have mentioned you.
Twitonomy shows where @EconnectTeam has been mentioned. Have we been neglecting Tassie?
There’s nothing to download – just sign in on Twitonomy with your Twitter account. Give it a try.
Choosing a hashtag – 3 tips
By Tom Dixon
Twitter hashtags are an easy way to connect with people with similar interests, and to find up-to-date footy scores, election results, and information about conferences.
Simply search Twitter with the hashtag, join the conversation and enjoy a world of debate. Or create your own hashtag and start your own debate.
Hashtags can be really useful for finding group discussions.
One of the most useful hashtags in my field of writing about agriculture in Australia is #agchatoz. We have regular tweet-chats that anyone can take part in.
And through the conference hashtag #ASC2014 I linked up with many science writers I’d not met before, and who I’m still in touch with.
A few common issues with hashtags often crop up in our Social media for scientists workshop. Here are 3 tips based on the most common queries:
- Make your hashtag unique. For example, if you’re trying to get a local discussion going on science in Brisbane, use a local tag like #BrisASC (Brisbane Australian Science Communicators). Using #Science may get you a lot of readers but your hashtag should be relevant to your content, and not retrieve other people’s irrelevant tweets.
- Test your hashtag by searching for it on Twitter before you use it. I once attended a prestigious science conference, and a search for the hashtag published by the organisers in the conference program retrieved some tweets with rather risqué imagery.
- Read and re-read your hashtag. Then ask a friend to read it. Stringing words together, especially all in lower-case, can have unintended consequences. One of my favourite fails was from UK singer Susan Boyle’s PR people who advertised her album launch party on Twitter using #susanalbumparty. It certainly got media coverage, though maybe not for the right reasons.
#Amateur2Pro – 3 tweeting tips
By Sarah Cole
I love seeing people new to social media practise and increase their skills.
Here are 3 tweeting tips to help you move from amateur to pro:
1. Share your conversation:
I enjoy watching a spirited Twitter conversation. But if you’re not following both people, you may miss the fun.
In your Twitter conversations with another person, to make sure both your followers and their followers see your tweets in their Twitter feed, you need to insert some text or punctuation (even a full stop will do) at the very start of your tweet, before the person’s Twitter handle.
Only people following both me and @EconnectTeam will see this tweet in their Twitter feed:
@EconnectTeam good luck next week at the Banksia Awards
Everyone who follows me and everyone who follows @EconnectTeam will see this tweet in their feed:
Hey @EconnectTeam good luck next week at the Banksia Awards
2. Shorten long words and phrases
If 140 characters is just short of what you need, don’t be afraid to use a common or easily understood abbreviation in place of a long word or phrase.
Acronyms and abbreviations are ok if the people you want to reach will understand them:
Worst season in yrs for Vic grain growers says NFF. Wasted $ applying N.
Text talk is not a good idea:
I h8 it wh3n ppl tlk lk dis! Mayb not bst idea.
3. Don’t flood people with hashtags
One clever hashtag can say a lot, but 10 can make your tweet hard to read. You’ll get more interaction from fewer hashtags, too. Remember that hashtags are best used as keywords – keep them simple and sparse.
Going a bit too far:
Wow lunch was amazing #risotto #freshpeas #girlfriendsandme #bestcafeintown #lazysundays #ohyeah
A hashtag can tell your followers you’re talking about a topic or attending an event:
I’m talking #scicomm at 10am at #ASC14
Use one good hashtag for comedic effect:
RT @ArbCowboy The Grateful Dad #RemoveALetterRuinABand