Using Twitter to increase the impact of your work, as a research tool, to make connections and to map out our network?


Page selection:
  • Elisabeth
  • Elisabeth's Avatar
  • Moderator
  • Freelance consultant since 2012 (former roles: program manager at GIZ and SuSanA secretariat, lecturer, process engineer for wastewater treatment plants)
  • Posts: 3372
  • Karma: 54
  • Likes received: 931

Re: Using Twitter to increase the impact of your work, as a research tool, to make connections and to map out our network?

Hi Carol,

Thanks a lot for your description of some key elements on twitter. I use twitter and I like it but I am quite a novice compared to you: I have e.g. not yet understood the use of lists and tweet deck. Perhaps in one of the upcoming SuSanA webinars you could give a demonstration?

Do you think it's worthwhile creating a list of twitter accounts of SuSanA partner organizations? Would that achieve anything? (I still don't fully grasp the concept of lists).

The network analysis of twitter followers (i.e. who follows whom) that Arno mentions above also leaves me puzzled. Not sure what that would really tell us.

My twitter name is @EvMuench and I follow 132 people, and have just over 500 followers. I would like to follow more people/organisations but I find that this ends up in information overload, particularly if people do many tweets per day. I still haven't figured out a way of handling that (I usually end up unfollowing those very frequent tweeters because I find it too much) - how could lists help me with that?

Some thoughts on how I use twitter:
  • I generally enjoy following persons more than organizations. I like it when people voice personal opinions, not just general things about WASH (and if they sometimes (not often, just occasionally) even throw in something unrelated, e.g. something about terrorism and refugees).
  • I find it useful to follow some people from outside the sector as they might give me new ideas, e.g. I follow some who work in the area of intestinal worms and health, like these:
  • SCI, Schisto Control @sci_ntds (The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) at Imperial College London, is an NGO working to eliminate 4 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) from Africa)
  • ChildrenWithoutWorms @CWWDirector Children Without Worms supports comprehensive control of intestinal worms. Follow us for news about soil-transmitted helminthiasis and the STH Coalition!
  • Wiki Project Med @WikiProjectMed Sharing the sum of all medical knowledge with every human being on the planet in the language of their choice. We edit #Wikipedia. #FOAMed #meded

  • I use my own tweets to highlight interesting things going on on the forum, hoping to direct people to using the forum.
  • I think most tweets should have a website link where people can find more information (and of course a photo is always a great eye catcher, although I am usually too lazy to insert one).
  • I find tweets from conferences pretty useful (using the hashtag of the conference), e.g. when I am at a conference, I might follow the tweets from a parallel session and get an impression of what's being discussed there.
  • I often see interesting requests for proposals, jobs or new papers and publications first advertised on twitter, before I see them also somewhere else.

  • The other day Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the CEO of the Gates Foundation, made a tweet about the importance of open access; I replied to the tweet by saying "18 March: @SueDHellmann I am so impressed with BMGF's open access policy for #sanitation projects that it funds! Thank you. ". A short while later, I got a notification that she "liked" my tweet and that really made my day!! Most likely she has assistants who manage her twitter account for her, or who help her, but still, I was quite chuffed. It makes me feel like I can be in contact with someone really high up. If she was ever to re-tweet something I had tweeted, that would be awesome. (getting someone who has a vast number of followers to retweet you is a real success)

    I would be curious to hear how other SuSanA members use twitter for their work? Or if they don't use it, why not? (I only started using it three years ago; before that I used to think it was totally weird and I didn't understand the tweets which were full of these symbols: # @ ... Then Juergen Eichholz gave us a demo at GIZ and it got me curious; later on Arno Rosemarin explained to me how it's used at SEI and then I decided to give it a go).

    Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
    Freelance consultant on environmental and climate projects
    Located in Ulm, Germany
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    My Wikipedia user profile:

    Please Log in to join the conversation.

    You need to login to reply
    • Carol McCreary
    • Carol McCreary's Avatar
    • Moderator
    • I'm a volunteer at PHLUSH (Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human)
    • Posts: 183
    • Karma: 11
    • Likes received: 116

    Re: Using Twitter to increase the impact of your work, as a research tool, to make connections and to map out our network?

    Thanks, Arno. I like Twitter and you've made me reflect on how I use it.

    People use Twitter in different ways. Some seek to influence and are successful. Other Tweeters fail to influence. Still others simply abandon use, which accounts for the large number of inactive Twitter accounts. Other may simply use Twitter as an aide-memoire, using the 140 characters to annotate what may later become a bibliographic reference.

    Among the organizations on the list of water and sanitation influencers Arno mentions are two individuals who use Twitter in very different ways: Alexander Verbeek and Catarina de Albuquerque. @CatarinadeAlbuq is a restrained Tweeter whose Tweets on sanitation and human rights - particularly when she was the UN Special Rapporteur - have influenced my colleagues and me. @Alex_Verbeek is a plain language popularizer of science relating to the energy-food-water complex who follows over 50K Tweeters and is followed by more than 87K. Broadly educational.

    Twitter itself has changed. The addition of images and the recent replacement of stars with hearts annoys many of us. Although it's been dumbed down a bit on the surface, Twitter has remained quite professional. It's not a love fest.

    For me, Twitter remains a tool for research tool rather than a tool for outreach. I find it especially useful for identifying breaking science writing and new reports in several of my areas of interest. I also use it to applaud the few journalists who cover toilet and sewer issues in North America. Twitter has help establish some very good and trusting relationships. Here are some elements I focus on.

    1. Lists. A list is a curated group of Twitter users and a great way to organize your interests. With lists there is little need to follow lots of people or to be followed. Lists can be as narrow or broad as one likes. And they can be public or private. Some lists you create and manage yourself. If they are public others may subscribe to them. You may be made a member of lists created by others. And you may subscribe to lists created by others. For example @PortlandPHLUSH has a public list called WWTPs for "Wastewater treatment plants that Tweet to the public." Invalid consumer key/secret in configuration As we're looking into the energy use, costs and carbon footprints of WWTPs I’ll check this list and make inquiries with either my own public tweets (I'm @Baggywrinkles)or, if possible, direct messages. By the way, should a list you follow include accounts you follow, incoming tweets appear only once.

    Here is more about lists. and an important reminder. Lists are used for reading Tweets only. You cannot send or direct a Tweet to members of a list, for only those list members to see.

    2. Tweet Deck. TweetDeck by Twitter bills itself as "The most powerful Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement." It allows you to line up columns on your screen. Columns can be lists (your own or those of others), individual Twitter account, hashtags, or search words.

    3. Profiles. Profiles are mini bios. At a glance they give some idea of why a person is on Twitter, how focussed they are on issues of mutual interest. People now self identify with everything from organization and personal websites to hash tags and emojis.

    Following individuals brings their attention to your profile and tweets. Follow back those with whom you might want to communicate briefly and privately using direct messages. This can help keep email out of your box and the DMs can remain always available and easy to locate in a Messages column on Tweet Deck.

    5. Blocking Tweeters. This is not something you use much because Twitter is quite civil. But occasionally you're followed by someone selling something or who just seems a little sketchy. Nothing is easier than blocking them.

    I hope others will chime in on how they use Twitter and share experiences.

    Carol McCreary
    Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH)
    1240 W. Sims Way #59, Port Townsend, Washington 98368 USA

    Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
    The following user(s) like this post: Elisabeth

    Please Log in to join the conversation.

    You need to login to reply
    • arno
    • arno's Avatar
      Topic Author
    • Moderator
    • Senior Research Fellow Stockholm Environment Institute
    • Posts: 320
    • Karma: 20
    • Likes received: 179

    Using Twitter to increase the impact of your work, as a research tool, to make connections and to map out our network?

    In my very preliminary efforts to look into the impact of Twitter in our work I came up with the following:

    1. The Guardian did a review of the top Water and Development Twitter Influencers prior to the World Water Week meeting in 2014:

    The results gave the following top users: 2. It’s difficult to scan Twitter to find the most active users for a specific topic. Searching for a topic provides a fixed and limited number of user addresses.

    3. Statistics are hard to come by and are sold by entrepreneurs. The quality of the data cannot be corroborated. Twitter only provides statistics on your own account. One source from Dec 2015 is In terms of global outreach Twitter is dominated by users in the US and Europe. There about 100 million daily users. The average number of followers is about 200 per account.

    4. The first impression is that this is not a very effective tool for outreach within the area of environment and development let alone the WASH or sanitation sectors. Still there are small communities that have developed.

    5. A look at who follows @susana_org provides about 2500 followers These in turn can be analysed to expand the network. There are software tools to help analyse social media data that can result in illustrations like this one:

    If you are interested we could delve into this a little further to assess the sanitation network on Twitter, who is who and who is doing what. We could compile some relevant questions and observations which may be of interest to others on the Forum.

    Arno Rosemarin PhD
    Stockholm Environment Institute
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    The following user(s) like this post: Carol McCreary

    Please Log in to join the conversation.

    You need to login to reply
    Page selection:
    Share this thread:
    Recently active users. Who else has been active?
    Time to create page: 0.175 seconds
    Powered by Kunena Forum