Back and twittering: my (proper) entry into the world of scientific social networking

For the astute reader of this blog, you will realise that Luke O’Loughlin’s PhD Research has existed since April 2011 and so you may find the title of this entry a tad misleading. However, it will only take a moment to realise that new content turning up on this page has been very few and far between. The reason for this is because over the last two years I’ve been busy busy conducting field work, doing experiments, collecting data and generally doing all those things you need to do to produce a PhD!

Recently I returned from a 7 month stint on Christmas Island, and then more recently from INTECOL in London, to the comfortable and familiar surroundings of La Trobe University. One of the key things I took away from my first international conference experience was the importance of social media in networking, organising collaborations and promoting your latest research in the fast-paced 21st century (which I’ve already stated back HERE). And now that I’ve returned to the office setting for what is essentially the pointy-end of any PhD, things like scientific profile, research networks and collaborative ventures seem more important. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I am now a (relatively) frequent and active user of Twitter – @OLoughlinLS 


A screenshot of my little twitter window showing my number of tweets, users following, people following me and my more recent little political tweet about our new conservative government.

In my first weeks as a Twitterer (is that the collective noun?) I guess the focus has been building up a profile and network, of which I currently follow 93 users and have a grand total of 33 people following me. In these last three weeks it’s been rather enlightening to see people promoting their latest publications, blog entries, research findings, opinions, thoughts, musings, etc. in their 140 character ‘tweet’. What has also been somewhat surprising and refreshing is the extent to which people promote other people’s publications, blog entries, interesting findings, opinions, thoughts, musings, etc. through the actions of ‘retweeting’ and including them in their own tweets. Twitter has also proved to be an easy medium in which to interact with those colleagues I rarely see and also academics and other students that (at this stage) I do not know personally.

And because all consumption of non-essential media should be kept at a minimum and if anyone has read this far I assume I’m almost about to lose your attention , I’ll conclude. The success of your online-scientific-social-media-profile appears (at least from my perspective) to be driven by content; primarily quantity (but of course most of that also needs to be quality). At which point I’d like to point out two incredibly prolific academic tweeters in my small twitterverse; Mick McCarthy and Euan Ritchie – both of whom are super active within large academic networks and run very informative blogs which begs the question, when do they get time to do work?

So at this stage I’m clearly working on quantity of content, next up quality. So if you’re interested, subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter to get the up-to-minute info on all the things related to my PhD research. Some potential upcoming titles include; Experimentally determining the mechanisms of invasion success, The Giant African Landsnail – Impact? and of course The adventures of a distracted Melbourne blues-guitarist on an isolated tropical island.


P.S. There is of course a plethora of researchers ‘blogging about blogging’; check out one example from the Conversation // READ


One response to “Back and twittering: my (proper) entry into the world of scientific social networking

  1. Nice one Luke! As a PhD I decided early not to involve myself with twitter, and rather stick to the old-school approach of blogging. I felt that in is this day and age I needed to use social media that fitted around my lifestyle (that being infrequent posting and checking to allow me to escape from academia every now and then). You have raised some very important advantages of the twitter-sphere and if I were starting a PhD now (which is scary to even consider), I would be right on board and following you. I think the most important aspect you mentioned is the ability to talk to people you don’t know personally. I often find it difficult to walk up to someone at a conference and start a conversation. However, twitter gives you the in to build a report before delving into an in-person conversation.

    Great post, enjoy tweeting!


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