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How to...use Twitter for academic research

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By Margaret Adolphus

Twitter has, slightly unfairly, gained a reputation for being lightweight: divorce spats, daily life minutiae, too-much-detail etc.

Yet not withstanding, some tweets (the noun that describes the messages) contain important information, and Twitter is used widely in most professions.

For academics who engage with social media, it has become a valuable tool to help build both their network and their reputation, as well as to provide data.

Veletsianos (2011) did a qualitative study on 45 scholars’ use of Twitter, and found that usage included sharing information and resources, asking for and receiving assistance, social commentary, highlighting an online presence elsewhere, digital identity and networking.

This article will examine ways in which Twitter can be used as a research aid, to network and to promote oneself and one’s research.