Twitter Apps and Tools for academics – Maintenance

What kind of maintenance tasks are there to do for my Twitter account?

This is a good question since many people I’ve spoken to don’t even think they have to do anything to their account other than tweet when they feel like it. So, what am I talking about? I’m talking about maintenance which, in my experience, includes the following:

  1. Follow-back: Look for more followers and followback those who’ve followed you (not the spammy ones, obviously)
  2. Replying/Mention/Favourite: Interacting with those who interact with you by responding in some way to them, either replying to their Mention, Mentioning them in a Thank You tweet, or favouriting a tweet of theirs in which you’re mentioned. If you don’t have time to reply just favourite and leave it at that, then they’ll be notified of your acknowledgement
  3. DM: Responding to direct messages – only the ones that actually ask something not just say Thank you for following, which you don’t need to do anything for :/
  4. Lists: Add new followers you especially like to your lists – putting everyone you follow into a list can be a bit time consuming so just pick your favourites to put in your list of news or scicomm etc…
  5. Scheduling: Find content from the web (or other tweets) to tweet using a scheduling application. (Don’t want to tweet them all at once and annoy followers so stagger the posts).

Why would you want to maintain your Twitter account?

The answer depends if a) You want an influential account and need more followers or b), You use your account as a tool for networking and connecting with the right people.

In both instances it’s worth understanding that active accounts, those accounts which tweet and interact regularly, are far more responsive to growth and interaction than those which do nothing. But even if you aren’t interested in an account with lots of followers, using your account as a tool to interact and connect with the right people for your career, by maintaining contact lists and responding to queries, these are important daily exercises for a vibrant account that will serve you well over the years.

If you’re a more involved Twitter user and don’t need encouragement to be active all the time, you still might need steering towards doing a little housekeeping; organise lists, find accounts to follow, read or search for your favourite tweeters. In this way you’ll augment your experience of Twitter and become, if you’re not already, a more confident and knowledgeable user.

A deeper understanding of your account comes from doing a few tasks like these:

  1. Follow new accounts – look for accounts similar to yours and follow those who follow them.
  2. Unfollow all those accounts that either don’t follow you back, are spam or are unused ‘dead’ accounts.
  3. Study at your stats/analytics to see when your followers are mostly online; your most popular tweets; from which country your followers are… and much more besides

The second list of maintenance tasks shown above are best performed with the help of other applications, such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Buffer, Klout and many more big and trusted programs to help you understand more about your Twitter accounts influence and even geographical influence. Some of these apps come with a certain amount of use for free; unfollow up to 50 users per day, follow up to 50 users per day, etc… (More on apps in the next section in this chapter).

I enjoy taking the time to use these apps to sort out my Twitter accounts since I get to know the types of accounts that follow me, where they comes from and what tweets are most popular. It’s a bigger task, but then I like to take my time with a coffee and relax to some music whilst doing it.

(This blog is taken from the Twitter for Academics book to come out early 2016)


About Dr Jojo Scoble

Freelance Science Communicator. Microbiology PhD Oxon. Fiction Writer. Social Media dilettante. Ideas Factory.
This entry was posted in academia. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Twitter Apps and Tools for academics – Maintenance

  1. EStafne says:

    Good breakdown overall, but I don’t agree about following/unfollowing. I don’t concern myself with those who don’t follow me back if they are someone whom I learn from. Getting worked up about who follows who is not worth too much energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve mention in the book various reasons why unfollowing is needed for some accounts, e.g., getting past 2k following so you can follow more users.


      • EStafne says:

        Yes, if that is your goal. For me it is not an issue of quantity, but rather the quality of those I follow. Doesn’t matter to me if I can follow 1000 or 10,000. Who can keep up with following that many folks anway?

        Liked by 1 person

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