So, a month or so ago I got a Twitter account. I plan on using it only professionally (actually, now that I write that, I have a vague memory of getting a GT twitter account long ago and never using it, so maybe I’ll resurrect that too). Anyway, I know many GTers use Twitter both professionally and personally, so I am hoping you guys can give me some advice based on what I’ve done so far...

Background: I’m a 3rd year PhD student in biological sciences, and I guess I’m at the point where many people start to worry about the feasibility of being able to cut it in academic research long term. For that reason, over the past year I’ve joined a couple groups, started to move into leadership, etc. Now, I’m hearing a lot about social media presence, so since I’m on a team planning an event in November, I thought now would be a good time to start.

What I’ve done: I got an account. I followed 22 people/organizations. These are other students, organizations at my institution, professors I know, and a couple of journals. I have 8 tweets. 6 of them are retweets of things I’m involved in. This afternoon, I tweeted twice about a lecture I went to.

My questions:

1. I feel weird tweeting. Like today, I tweeted something along the lines of “Just heard Dr. Smith speak at <lecture series>. Great talk on using XYZ to treat ABC!” buuuuuut, I have 11 followers, one is my husband, and one is his friend (who just automatically followed when he saw I had an account). The other 9 are people or departments at my organization. All of them knew about this lecture, and most of them were there. So I feel kind of like I’m writing these tweets to “spread the word” to people who already know.

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2. Is it weird if I follow people I don’t know? Like there are some labs on campus where I don’t know the PI, but maybe they post cool stuff...I feel like if I don’t know them, it’s along the lines of friending someone you don’t know on Facebook.

3. Is there any way to filter the feed of tweets? Some of the journals I follow seem to retweet anything anyone says about them, so I have this endless stream of tweets that are all about the same paper, and I never see unique ones from the other people who might only post once every few days.

4. Any other advice or things to watch out for?