Why Are Academics Supposed to ‘Tweet’ on Twitter?

The discussion that took place on the Twitter platform, in my opinion, was not just an empty ‘tweet’. Although this is an informal channel, it is enough to open the public’s view that this Twitter communication line impacts lay sentiments about academics and the world.

Since I created a Twitter account last May 2009, the use of Twitter for ‘chirping’ and linking between friends has grown rapidly. Perhaps this is a personal opinion that the development of #AcademicTwitter has its ups and downs. In the early 2000s, Twitter contained channels of artist accounts and a variety of entertainment buzzers. It is not uncommon for millions of followers to tweet their activities for fans. But more and more here, Twitter has become a more serious tweet.

Video: Twitter has also made an impact in politics in the United States since its 15 years of existence in 2021 during the Trump vs. Biden presidential election

Not the issues discussed by the mainstream media industry but shifting to socio-political issues. The peak of #AcademicTwitter also occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic in the early 2020s. A tsunami of information from all sources is scattered. Even this symptom gave rise to a new ‘Twit artist’ (a term for Twitter users with millions of followers) containing groups of scientists, politicians, epidemiologists/experts, and groups such opponents of vaccination (anti-vax) as well as groups of conspiracy theorists.

The hashtag #AcademicTwitter has also grown into many others, such as #ScienceTwitter #PhDLife. Until now, these tweets about academics have continued to grow every day. Likely, the number is already thousands and millions (it is possible).

Then, the question is, how important is Twitter to academics (Scientists and Researchers)?

This question is what I am trying to answer. Of course, twittering academics is a very personal thing. But twitter’s interests in this Twitter platform need to be written more neatly so that many people can understand how important it is for academics to Twitter. I’m trying to illustrate this.

Hmm. I believe that Twitter can provide new opportunities for academics, including scientists and researchers. Despite its seniority, academic hierarchy position, and inherent institutions, this Twitter medium has an egalitarian position for everyone to argue. For young academics (early career researchers), by actively contributing to Twitter, we can follow the development of emerging methods every day; the door to collaboration with researchers and scientists is very open, including with the community of scientists in the field of science and the collegium of scientific studies of specific research areas.

I’ve also observed that since thirteen years ago, that egalitarian discussion on Twitter can be critical and constructive feedback on some of the research we’re working on. Although not a few of these criticisms can cause unnecessary debate, we can determine where our level of awareness is to receive input that is indeed relevant. For some people, Twitter is also a place to convey unique ideas. Besides the negative dangers of bullying and the spread of mis/disinformation, Twitter still has more positive impacts on academics when weighed. But remember, we also have to know which account best fits our mission of Twitter.

Since my career in the academic world in 2015, I began to often choose many that are following science and useful for networking in career development as a lecturer. As a young academic-to-date-some of the issues surrounding higher education and the scientific area of research, I share in several threads on Twitter. This is a little different from the academic climate in universities, which must be admittedly a little space for young lecturers to disseminate. Today’s academic space is considered rigid and hierarchical for young lecturers. At least, this is what some young lecturer colleagues, including me, often complain about. In a social media ecosystem like Twitter, that’s not the case. It could be that other academics feel differently than I do, but socializing on Twitter can provide an opportunity for scientists, including early-career lecturers, to freely network with colleagues without social and geographical barriers. I can talk freely and discuss academic topics with colleagues at other universities at home and abroad casually and insightfully.

At least several times, our discussions on various problems in the academic world were recorded and further reviewed in media columns such as The Conversation Indonesia. Perhaps this is also what makes the current lively academics in Indonesia more intense in sharing information and actual ‘complaints’ about educational, academic, scientific, and social criticism issues that are relevant to the public.

I think the discussion on the Twitter platform was not just an empty ‘tweet’. Although this is an informal channel, it is enough to open the public’s view that this Twitter communication line impacts lay sentiments about academics and the world.

How Does Twitter Play a Role in Academic Career?

Daniel Quintana is one of those scientists with interesting views and arguments about how and what the need for scientists to tweet on Twitter. In the e-book he publicly compiled Daniel, he wrote in eight chapters that quite well reviewed how scientists and academics could get started becoming ‘Celebtwit’ and share his knowledge and views with the public with Twitter. The electronic book can be read and quoted below.

Quintana, D.S. (2020). Twitter for Scientists [eBook edition]. Retrieved from https://t4scientists.com/. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3707741

We can read Daniel’s e-book to understand how Twitter is used by academics. In full, Daniel has already peeled this off. Well back to the original question, “Why Should Academics Use Twitter? I also raised this question on Twitter a few days ago.

Well, maybe some of these considerations can be the reason why academics are supposed to create Twitter accounts.

Collaborate
From my previous illustration, Twitter can be used as a platform for collaboration between academics (scientists and researchers), especially physical encounters for the initial initiation of collaboration will be more difficult because of their busyness. Twitter could be a more solid means of initiating the beginning of collaboration.

Learn
The means of learning and sharing. Twitter’s egalitarian climate allows all academics to share and absorb useful and useful exposures (threads) or information from their peers. Even from a well-known professor who is an expert in a particular field of science. For example, I became a loyal follower of an account Eric Topol on Twitter because, from the thread, I can learn how to do a scientific evidence study of COVID-19.

Promote
Currently, academics (especially in Indonesia) are faced with the desire of both individuals and institutions to increase the citation of their scientific articles, then the organic path that academics can take is to use Twitter. Using Twitter, academics can share and offer important findings that are useful to the public to share and read more broadly by the audience. The promotion is not about their expert views but also their latest scientific work from articles in scientific journals. Academics can create a thread that is communicative to the audience. Of course, this also requires other skills related to science communication. However, if it is judged that this ability is lacking, then academics can collaborate with science journalists or science media.

The organic promotional side is offered on Twitter, but there are indeed many ‘shortcuts’ for academics to boost their scientific citations, but often their steps are a step toward the ethical principles of scientific publications. There is much valid evidence about academics’ despicable behavior on this issue. For example, in a viral article entitled “The cobra effect, Indonesian lecturers are obsessed with the Scopus index and despicable practices towards world-class universities,” This ‘instant’ behavior should be avoided by academics.

Engage
Not a few accounts of institutions holding science or public policy policies with the increase in Twitter users also enlivened the discussion. Not a few of these accounts are intended to explore the public aspirations of Twitter users and internet users (netizens) so that in addition to sharing with the audience, academics can also freely make ‘mentions’ to provide review and input to these public policy actors. Also, political actors have concerns about issues relevant to academic studies that are being discussed by researchers or scientists. It doesn’t always get a response, but this communication ecosystem on Twitter allows that to happen.

So here are some things that are considered, how it should be, and why academics need to join Twitter. How do you already have a Twitter account?

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