Social media is an ever changing field with new platforms and tools appearing each month, but one thing that has not changed is the potential that social media offers for disseminating research to a wider audience and facilitating engagement with policymakers, the press, and the wider public. Scholarly publishers are increasingly advising researchers to use social media to advertise their research articles whilst policymakers are beginning to point their policy researchers towards social media to source the latest research findings.

Here at R2A we have pulled together a reading list of some of our favourite resources about social media:

  1. This ‘Whistle Stop Twitter Guide for Think Tanks‘ produced for the Think Tank Initiative’s Policy, Engagement and Communications Programme (TTI PEC) by Betty Paton gives a quick guide to: setting up a Twitter profile, creating an organisational social media policy, thinking about some strategic goals, and using management tools.
  2. Another guide by Betty Paton also produced for the TTI PEC programme offers ‘Practical Tips  and Guidance on Monitoring your Twitter Activity‘. The guide gives an overview of how to monitor, evaluate, and learn from the reach and engagement of tweets, the buzz generated by a social media campaign, and the volume of link clicks.
  3. Betty Paton’s blog about ‘How to use Instagram for research communication‘ gives a short overview of the visual social media platform, and how it can be used to share research findings.
  4. What’s all the intertest in Pinterest? How can it be used for research communication?‘ also by Betty Paton gives a short synopsis of another image-sharing platform and lists some interesting Pinterest boards to start following.
  5. Ingvild Storm summarises a revolutionary, time-saving social media coordination tool If This Then That (IFTTT) in the blog ‘IFTTT: What is it and why you should be using it‘. IFTTT can be used for almost any type of social media platform and coordination, including automating or archiving content.
  6. Andrew Clappison offers hints and tips about ‘How to target journalists with your research through Twitter‘, given that studies are finding that journalists are increasingly turning to social media to source information.
  7. Pete Cranston discusses the ‘secret sauce of social media’ stating that ‘social media is about conversation’ in the blog ‘Social media engagement: how can it support research uptake?‘. Pier Andrea Pirani follows up by looking at social media from the perspective of the user in the second part of the blog ‘Social media engagement: different types of utilisation‘.
  8. Anushka Wijesinha aims to convert social media sceptics in this article ‘It’s time for more South Asian researchers to get on Twitter‘, explaining why he uses Twitter and how it benefits him.
  9. Zilper Audi also offers reasons for researchers to embrace social media in the blog ‘Why you need to get on social media: a think tank’s perspective‘. Zilper gives six reasons which aim to convert even the staunchest of social media skeptics and suggests two rules of thumb for those just starting out using social media.
  10. Allison Stevens offers a solution to social media skepticism and the understandable reluctance of some researchers to learn how to use new online tools, arguing that ‘Researchers need training in social media: try the coaching approach‘.

This resource list is intended to be dynamic. We welcome your input and any suggested resources in the comment section below or, alternatively, you can tweet them to us via @Research2Action.