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Twitter as a Valuable Tool for Graduate Advisers

December 19, 2011

For those who are graduate advisers (Masters or PhD) and who buy into the mentorship idea – how do you do it? May we suggest Twitter as a possible tool for mentorship in academia.

This useful  Twitter Guide for Academics suggests using Twitter as a way of possibly exposing students to your own work and also highlighting important texts they might want to read.

Twitter can aid in mentorship in these areas:

  1. Facilitating educational mentorship: Discussion are often repeated, students have the same questions. Recommend articles, blogs, etc… to students. Link to journals you’d recommend publishing in. Post calls for papers and conference presentations. Tweet discussion topics.
  2. Maintaining personal mentorship: Twitter can’t replace face-to-face time but it can assist in keeping contact. For students who study off campus or are part time, it can be a way to connect with you. Questions can be sent through Direct Message. They can feel connected into a sort of community with their peers and colleagues. They can gain from your tweets of articles, etc… that they might not be able to ask in person or be a part of thesis meetings/writing groups/etc… Engage with students online, answer questions, ask questions, retweet them (affirmation).
  3. It makes you human: Advisers and faculty can carry a hint of superman with them due to their position, their tenure, etc… Not everything about Twitter has to be academic driven. Highlight organizations and events you’re involved with, talks you’re giving outside of the university, other faculty you’re working with. It could be but doesn’t have to include the mundane: your tire the blew on the way to work, your child’s first recital, your reaction to the latest news event, how slowly your research is going. It’s all part of building community.

There are immense possibilities with platforms such as Twitter and it’s really up to you to find the ways it works best for you, to imagine the tasks it could help you perform better, faster or easier.

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