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Research Metrics

A guide for research impact tools, databases, and metrics

Why Twitter?

Information Dissemination and Networking

Shape your professional profile using platforms like Twitter (Azu, et al., 2012) and bring awareness to your field of research. Anyone searching the internet might find you!

  • Choose a hashtag or hashtags that you can use when you Tweet about research of interest. Using the hashtags will help make the tweets discoverable.
  • Have your research team create Twitter profiles to tweet their and others' research.
  • Keep a departmental list of Twitter users so that you can easily tag each other.
  • Consider holding a Twitter-based Journal Club or Virtual Chat.

Live Tweeting the Meeting

Live-tweeting events and conferences can allow for engagement beyond the attendees and enable a thoughtful conversation to continue past the event (Barnes, et al., 2018).

  • Choose a hashtag for the event and tell participants about it in registration materials, on the website, and at the event.
  • Mark all tweets about the event with the chosen hashtag.
  • Ask the conference team to create or share their Twitter handles. Tag them in the Tweets when appropriate (on authored papers, on events where they are presenting, etc.).
  • Put together a master list of event-related Twitter users for the event that participants can follow and tag.

Getting Started

Getting Started with Twitter

  1. Download the Twitter app to your smartphone or use the Twitter website or both.
  2. Register for an account
  3. Add a professional photo and write a brief bio about your areas of interest. You can use hashtags in your bio to be more easily discoverable.
  4. Follow users and accounts in your areas of interest.
  5. Check your Twitter feed once or twice a day to like and retweet content of interest, or respond to others' tweets to start a respectful discussion.
  6. When you feel comfortable, you can begin tweeting on your own.

Becoming a Twitter Pro

  • Keep a separate professional account and refrain from engaging in sensitive topics, like politics, from your professional account.
  • Use a professional photo so that you are recognizable to your peers.
  • Retain personal boundaries and be mindful of giving out too much identifying information since all the information is public.
  • Don't tweet anything you wouldn't say out loud in public.
  • Photos, GIFs, graphics, and links receive more engagements than just text.
  • You can incorporate polls into your tweets to get feedback from key stakeholder groups.

Use Caution: Ethics in the Twitterverse

  • DO ask permission to share photos of colleagues and peers before posting
  • DO cite your sources
  • DO stick to professional and collegial discourse
  • DON'T share patient information or photographs without explicit consent
  • DON'T diagnose or give medical medical advice
  • DON'T share speaker slides if they ask you not to
  • DON'T share unpublished data

Reference: Barnes, S. S., Kaul, V., & Kudchadkar, S. R. (2019). Social media engagement and the critical care medicine community. Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, 34(3), 175-182.

Twitter Vocabulary

  • Impressions – the number of times a tweet shows up in a uers’s timeline
  • Engagements – the number of times a user interacts with a tweet
  • Retweet – sharing someone else’s tweet on your timeline
  • Like – liking someone else’s tweet by pressing the heart
  • Reply – leaving a comment on someone else’s tweet
  • Hashtag – content marked with a # to make tweets discoverable
  • Mentions – tagging another user with their handle
  • Followers – users who are viewing your content
  • Following – users whose content appears in your timeline

Johns Hopkins Social Media Policies and Guidelines

Twitter: A Selected Bibliography

See also the Journal of Medical Internet Research's E-collection: Medicine 2.0: Social Media, Open, Participatory, Collaborative Medicine.