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Using Social Media for Research Purposes - a guide. Version 2.0

How to use social media tools for further your research.

Your Communication

Ways to share your ideas, opinions and research.

You need a forum to share information with your audience. As a minimum you need your own Twitter account [ ] so that you can Tweet and follow the Twitter feeds of other researchers and research organisations. Important too is a blog either on Wordpress [ ] or Blogger [ ]. Sustaining a blog alone can be hard work and time consuming. Consider contributing to another blog as a guest or share a blog with interested colleagues.

The #hashtag

The #hashtag draws together information from Twitter and across social media. Good use of hashtags is a key social media skill, so add this to your social media tool kit.  Each research community has its own popular hashtags e.g. #FOAMed - open access medical education resources or #prehospital - all about prehospital care.  Hashtags are a dynamic area.  Pick up useful hashtags from other Twitter users, search Google for lists of popular hashtags. Some online tools can suggest hashtags. 

Tools to manage your hash tags

#tagboard ] Freemium.  Create free tagboards for individual tags that collate information across social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google +, Vine, Flikr). tagboards are customisable, add a graphic for example and you can share. Content can be filtered by social network or content type.

#Twubs ] Freemium.  Create a Twub and Tweets with that hashtag are feed into a ticker tape style stream. Register with your Twitteraccount and you can Tweet direct with that hashtag. Designed for events it's a handy tool to Tweet to or about conferences or other professional gatherings. Twubs has an Embed Tool, if your website can cope with that.

Tools to analyse your hashtags

Keyhole ] Freemium.  Analyses a sample of Twitter or Instagram over 24 hours. Again only really effective for tags that have some profile. Very good statistical summary though with clear graphics. 

RiteTag ] Freemium.  Analyse your hashtag with a view to checking its value or choosing a better one. RiteTag gives you a really neat organogram to show how your tag relates to other tags. 

Curate your own resources

Showcase your expertise by curating collections of references on your topic and sharing on the web.  There are a number of tools that will help you do this. Mendeley and Sparrho are examples of the different tools you can use to achieve this.

Mendeley Groups ] Free.  Create a group to share your references. e.g. Prehospital Emergency Services Current Awareness Update

Sparrho ] Free.  Create a channel to search the web for relrevant content and share by curating your own pinboard to e.g. Paramedic Practice 


Davies, F., 2015. Tips and Tricks: How to promote your research successfully online. Available from: [Accessed 26 March 2016].

Eassom, H., 2014. How to promote your research through blogging. Available from: [Accessed 26 March 2016].

The Online Academic. Twitter for academics. A five part guide to using Twitter as an academic. Available from: [ Accessed 14 October 2016 ].