Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Want to Get on? Better Join In

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Want to Get on? Better Join In

Article excerpt

Engaging with others via Twitter can help you through a PhD and into a job, John Elmes hears

Some in the academic world have proved resistant to social media, but for many scholars, it is as useful and as ubiquitous a tool as the textbook or the test tube.

For Eva Amsen, outreach director for F1000 Research - an open science publishing platform for life scientists - using social media is a key aspect of the academic's life and something that, for a PhD student, could aid the doctoral process and enhance future employment prospects.

Dr Amsen's number one tip for getting the most out of social media during a PhD is to use it to contact and converse with people. "Not talking to people is the main mistake [tweeters make]," she said. "If you just broadcast things on Twitter, no one can really find it unless they're following you. Replying to other people's tweets and joining in on conversations - especially if you have something useful to say, not just favouriting or retweeting a tweet - [is] how you grow your followers [and] meet new people." By doing this, others will learn "what kind of person you are and what you add to a conversation".

Additionally, Twitter levels out academic hierarchies, which can give people the confidence to speak to experts. "It's really easy for students to talk to professors," Dr Amsen said. "There's not as much of that hierarchy; everyone is at an equal level. I see PhD students talking to the equivalent of their boss at the same level in social media."

She added that Twitter made it much easier to engage with academics at conferences. …

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