20842181_10155054686268337_8682514814013477937_nSocial media is used by many of us as part of our daily lives – similar to checking our emails and is not just for celebrities and politicians, but also academics, research projects, students and many more organisations, stakeholders, local and national governments alike.

Twitter is one of several social media platforms (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) available to academics as a form of communication, to reach out to our networks, organisations, and fellow colleagues to keep up to date with breaking news, publications, employment opportunities,

In this post we highlight some key benefits of using social media and hopefully some handy and practical advice to get started.

4 Reasons why you need to use social media:

  • Broaden your professional network and reputation

Social media platforms such as Twitter are easily accessible, and can facilitate and build up new and existing relationships with fellow academics, stakeholder communities, politicians, governments, Universities, NHS/Digital, public sector (i.e. Police forces), academics, and organisations.

This greater accessibility has the capability to broaden your academic reputation, which in turn can open up new professional possibilities.

  • Promoting your work/research project:

We all love it when we have a paper accepted for publication, receiving our published book(s) from the publisher and to admire our hard work.

Using social media/Twitter can help you disseminate your work, taking a photo of your book or a retweeting a colleagues’ publication gets that information out to wider audiences.  Ageing & Society are on Twitter @Ageing_Society and all BSG members who publish with the journal have their paper shared across the BSG Twitter account and retweeted by colleagues.

Blogging on Ageing Issues is also shared across Twitter and Dr Martin Hyde wrote a fantastic piece “5 reasons why gerontologists need to blog (and 8 tips & tricks to get you started)”.

We as academics/gerontologists work hard and when we have a research project funded, we want to share this news with everyone. Twitter is a great platform to get this information out there.

You can create a separate Twitter account for your research project which allows you to share project progress/updates, reach out to the wider community,

  • Reach a wider audience:

We have mentioned that social media/Twitter has the capability to reach wider audiences – this is true!

You may not know a person, but many of them through their academic reputation, their organisation/stakeholder or their research collaborations and outputs. Following an individual or an organisation is a great way to share their information and your information.

Twitter is a great platform to undertake public engagement, build trust and understanding of each other, but also to increase the relevance and impact on and across society. Metrics can be reviewed from your profile and you can see what is working well on your profile.

You may have hundreds of followers and in some cases thousands of followers. But you can reach wider audiences using a hashtag (#). These are used through keywords such as: #technology, #agefriendly, #Ageing #gerontology etc. Incorporating hashtags into your Tweets you are automatically reaching wider audiences who in turn may follow your account.

  • Learning from each other

Twitter is a great place to get your information/publications out there instantly. Whether you’re a junior or senior academic, we are constantly learning and can do from one another. Twitter is a great platform that can facilitate learning.

 

So, you want to reconnect or join the Twitter sphere?

Here are some key tips for you:

Reconnecting with Twitter

  1. Check your account is up to date
  2. Is your account accessible via your smartphone? This is a great way to retweet on the go
  3. Start to follow new accounts
  4. Connect with BSG on Twitter and other associated gerontology accounts
  5. Identify what publications, events, blogs or information you would like to share
    1. Make sure you have Bitly links or photos of the information you would like to share, this allows you to have as much information as possible in your individual Tweet

Joining Twitter

  1. Create an account and populate with all necessary information. You’ll be asked for a short bio
    1. Look at other accounts (i.e. @HannahRMarston or @HydeM1976) for examples
  2. Find the BSG Twitter account and start to follow their followers and accounts that they follow. You can also use the ‘search’ box to find accounts
  3. Connecting your smartphone to Twitter – download the Twitter app, & login to your account via your phone
    1. This is a great way to retweet on the go
  4. Identify what publications, events, blogs or information you would like to share
    1. Make sure you have Bitly links or photos of the information you would like to share, this allows you to have as much information as possible in your individual Tweet.

Tips for Everyone

  1. When compiling a new Tweet, make sure you have an image or a web link that you can include into the Tweet.
  2. Visuals are great to get users attention and by incorporating a web link into  your tweet, a user can click on the link which will automatically take them to the information that you are sharing.
  3. Short videos are a good way to get your information out and heighten the interest of followers and interested parties
    Video_Tweet

    This short video clip (35s) has received 1,619 views since the 16th November 2018

    It’s not time consuming! You can use Tweetdeck to schedule a series of tweets over a month or several months at different times and it will automatically be tweeted.

  4. To become an active Tweeter, you need to ensure that you Tweet regularly. Once a blue moon will not build up your profile. Retweeting the tweets of other’s, you are building this network up within your community.
  5. UKRI now require a pathway to impact statement forming part of their funding applications. Social media is a great
    1. The ESRC has provided their insight to why academics should use Twitter: https://esrc.ukri.org/research/impact-toolkit/social-media/twitter/what-is-twitter/ This page gives additional information and an example of a Tweet.

How is Twitter used by the BSG Society?

British Society of Gerontology

The British Society of Gerontology uses Twitter as its primary means of communication on Social media. We share and follow information relating to Ageing and Gerontology. If you use Twitter and are not following us– go to:

  • @britgerontology

WHO’S WHO Initiative…?

WhosWho_screenshot

Dr Kate Baxter has been part of the Who’s Who initiative

Since September 2017, Dr Hannah R. Marston has been running the Who’s Who initiative on Twitter for all BSG members. The purpose of this initiative is to increase the visibility of the Society and for ALL members to learn about each other and share their knowledge, research etc. via social media.

 

  • If you would like to be part of this, regardless of whether you are on Twitter or not – please email Hannah.Marston@open.ac.uk 

 

Ageing & Society Journal:

A&S_screenshotAll publications published by BSG Members in the journal will be shared across the  Journal and the BSG Twitter accounts to highlight the work and relationship between the journal and the society.

  • @Ageing_Society

Ageing Issues Blog:

All blogs that are posted onto Ageing Issues are tweeted and retweeted by BSG members and the Society.  By sharing this information from one platform to another we are exposing the great work, thoughts and activity by members.

Annual British Society of Gerontology Conference 2019 – University of Liverpool

BSGLiv

Follow conference updates online

For the last couple of years, the BSG has had a social media presence on Twitter for the Annual Conference. To follow updates leading up to the Conference, during and post  Conference go to:

 

  • @BSGLiverpool2019

Technology & Ageing Special Interest Group

The BSG has several special interest groups and the Technology & Ageing SIG has its own Twitter account. We are and will be sharing information related to technology, members research activity and conference business meeting. If you want to follow us go to:

  • @BsgTechAgeSIG

 

For more information and advice contact: Dr Hannah R. Marston

Hannah.Marston@open.ac.uk

@HannahRMarston