“Visible Tweets”: A Free Animation Tool To Display Twitter Messages In Public Spaces

CTSI’s visibility on Twitter is growing – thanks to the tweets from CTSI programs and people like Anirvan (see his latest post AMIA 2012 Joint Summit: a report back in tweets).

But how can we leverage and highlight this activity, for example at upcoming events (retreats, conferences, symposia, etc.)? Visible Tweets” is a great tool to do just that. Type in a search term, for example @CTSIatUCSF, and go…

Try it!

Tweets fly in and out… Here is an example.

How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper?

Twitter is getting its own standard format to fit the requirements of “publish or perish”. The Modern Language Association has developed a standard format. In his post, Alexis Madrigal takes a closer look at the shortcomings of the instructions. He writes:

It’s simple. Also, I just love the “Tweet” at the end. However, it’s curious that no URL is required, especially given the difficulty of Twitter search for anything not said in the past day or two.

Here are the instructions developed by the Modern Language Association:

Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:

Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.

The date and time of a message on Twitter reflect the reader’s time zone. Readers in different time zones see different times and, possibly, dates on the same tweet. The date and time that were in effect for the writer of the tweet when it was transmitted are normally not known. Thus, the date and time displayed on Twitter are only approximate guides to the timing of a tweet. However, they allow a researcher to precisely compare the timing of tweets as long as the tweets are all read in a single time zone.

In the main text of the paper, a tweet is cited in its entirety (6.4.1):

Sohaib Athar noted that the presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event.”

or

The presence of a helicopter at that hour was “a rare event” (Athar).

Crowdsourcing the Analysis and Impact of Scholarly Tweets

“Twitter is one of the fastest tools to discover newly published scholarly papers”, Martin Fenner wrote in one of his earlier posts. Now Fenner and Euan Adie finished the first phase of an interesting new experiment, the CrowdoMeter project.

In the last 2 months, they used crowdsourcing to analyze the semantic content of almost 500 tweets linking to scholarly papers (953 classifications by 105 users for 467 tweets). Their preliminary results show: 

  • 3 predominant subject areas: Medicine and Health, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences and Economics.
  • Most tweets (88%) discussed the papers, 10% were in agreement, 3% disagreed.
  • Most papers are not tweeted by their authors or publishers

In his recent guest post on Impact of Social Sciences, Fenner makes the argument that “social media, and Twitter in particular, provide almost instant, relevant recommendations as opposed to traditional citations.

A few years from now the ‘personalized journal’ will have replaced the traditional journal as the primary means to discover new scholarly papers with impact to our work.

What is still missing are better tools that integrate social media with scholarly content, in particular personalized recommendations based on the content you are interested in (your Mendeley or CiteULike library are a good approximation) and the people you follow on Twitter and other social media.

Fenner’s view is also based on Gunther Eysenbach’s study from 2011 that showed “highly tweeted papers were more likely to become highly cited (but the numbers were to small for any firm conclusions; 12 out of 286 papers were highly tweeted)”.

Fenner and Adie are using altmetric.com to track the scholarly impact of your research. Other tools – some of which we wrote about – include  ReaderMeterTotal ImpactPLoS Article-Level Metrics, and ScienceCard.

“From Twitter To Tenure”: MD Shares How Twitter Can Be A Valuable Tool For Academics

Credit: Jason Archer, http://www.academictechnology.org

There is still considerable resistance to embracing social media tools for academic purposes, but if you are reading this blog post on FutureDocs by Vineet Arora, MD,  you are probably willing to consider their positive effects. And the list of academic tweeters is growing.

Vineet shares the various ways social media has impacted her academic career including finding grant opportunities, disseminating research results, and being found as an expert for media interviews and lectures. Here is her list:

  • Media interviews – I was interviewed by Dr Pauline Chen through the New York Times who located me through – you guessed it Twitter!  She actually approached me for the interview by direct messaging me through Twitter.  She was following me and noticed my interests in handoffs on my Google profile which is linked to my Twitter account.  She was also very encouraging when I started the blog which was exciting!
  • Workshop presentations– I presented a workshop on social media in medical education (#SMIME as we like to call it), at 2 major medical meetings with 3 others (including @MotherInMed who encouraged me to start a blog and also is my copresenter at SGIM).  The idea was borne on Twitter…and the first time I actually met one of the workshop presenters (who I knew on Twitter) was at the workshop.
  • Acquired new skills  – My workshop co-presenter who I only knew through Twitter ended up being Carrie Saarinen, an instructional technologist (a very cool job and every school needs one!).  She is an amazing resource and taught me how to do a wiki.  After my period of ‘lurking’, I started my own ‘course’ wiki  dedicated to helping students do research and scholarly work which we are launching in a week.
  • Lecture invitations – Several of my lecture invitations come through social media.  Most notably, I was invited to speak for an AMSA webinar on handoffs and also speak to the Committee of Interns and Residents on teaching trainees about cost conscious medicine.  Both invitations started with a reference to finding me through Twitter or the blog.
  • Committee invitations – I am now on the SGIM communications task force as a result of my interest in social media.  Our most recent effort was a piece about‘tweeting the meeting’ with @medrants and an older piece focused on the top Twitter Myths and Tips.
  • Grant opportunities – I recently submitted a grant with an organization that I learned of on Twitter – Initially, I had contacted Neel Shah from Costs of Careasking him if they had a curriculum on healthcare costs.  They did not, but were interested in writing a grant to develop a curriculum so they brought my team on board and we submitted together (fingers crossed).
  • Dissemination – One of the defining features of scholarship (the currency of promotion in academic medical centers) is that it has to be shared.   Well, social media is one of the most powerful ways to share information.   In a recent example, we entered a social media contest media video contest on the media sharing site Slideshare.  Using social media, we were able to obtain the most number of ‘shares’ on Facebook on Twitter which led to the most number of views and ultimately won ‘Best Professional Video.’  To date, this video, has received over 13,000 views, which I was able to highlight as a form of ‘dissemination’ in a recent meeting with our Chairman about medical education scholarship.    While digital scholarship is still under investigation with vocal critics and enthusiasticproponents debating the value of digital scholarship in academia, digital scholarship does appear to have a place for spreading nontraditional media that cannot be shared via peer review.

Further reading:

Social Media Week, February 2012

Organizers host the five-day conference (February 13-17, 2012) simultaneously in London, Berlin, New York, Toronto, San Francisco and São Paulo. 

The event will explore the impact that social media has on culture, business communications and society at large.

Among the topics:

  • Mining Social Media for Consumer Insight
  • Dashboards and Metrics
  • Topical Influencers: Who Are They and How Do We Reach Them?
  • Creating Social Utilities That People Will Actually Use

More at http://socialmediaweek.org/

“Using What We Know About Spam to Fight AIDS”, Interesting Technorati Post

This is noteworthy. Together with colleagues, Microsoft researchers David Heckerman and Jonathan Carlson have developed a computational biology tool using some of the algorithms from Microsoft’s anti-spam filters and high-performance computing to analyze changes in the human immune system and mutations in the HIV virus to learn more about how to effectively fight HIV.

The post on Technorati reads:

The Spammers are ingenious. If email administrators block a few words that are common spam words, they send spam as an image instead of text. If administrators block certain domains known for spam, they spoof or hack new domains to send from. Turns out, HIV acts in a similar fashion as it tries to avoid the human immune system.

Why Do Americans Use Social Media?

These days, “66%, two-thirds of online adults, use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or LinkedIn,” states the latest  PEW Research report.  And while we are thinking about how we can leverage social media at academic institutions to support research, for example to foster internal communication and knowledge sharing, the report adds numbers to some of the known reasons that motivate people to use social media.

(The 66%) say that connections with family members and friends (both new and old) are a primary consideration in their adoption of social media tools. Roughly two thirds of social media users say that staying in touch with current friends and family members is a major reason they use these sites, while half say that connecting with old friends they’ve lost touch with is a major reason behind their use of these technologies.

Other factors play a much smaller role: 14% of users say that connecting around a shared hobby or interest is a major reason they use social media and 9% say that making new friends is equally important. Reading comments by public figures and finding potential romantic partners are cited as major factors by just 5% and 3% of social media users, respectively.

See the full report for more details, including differences among age and ethnic groups when it comes to what they value most in social media.