Trauma and PTSD researchers should tweet

Last week, I tried to compile a list of trauma and PTSD experts who are part of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) or affiliated societies. It turned out that we have only a handful of active twitterers, while the societies have thousands of members. At the last annual ISTSS conference in November, we had only two people tweeting.

It’s a missed opportunity. Twitter is a fantastic tool to build a prospering research community (see e.g., Mollett et al., 2011; Reinhardt et al., 2009;). I’ll give you some examples:

While I was searching for tweeters for my list, @raulpacheco started the #myresearch hashtag, asking people to present their research topic or question in about 120 characters. It went viral. Moreover, it was highly informative, entertaining, and instantly led to new connections and exchanges between researchers all over the world. Marc Smith made a beautiful graph of it.

A second example is the #phdchat hashtag. It equals an active community of PhD students (and other academics) who help each other out with questions about research software, time management, writing tips etc. They also motivate each other and provide support. Not in the least, they have weekly tweet chats about specific topics such as the thesis defense.

I could go on for a little while, but will only just mention the #hcsmanz tweet chats (see also @hcsmanz). Each Sunday, a sparkling conversation takes place about the use of social media in health care. Early January, we discussed the topic of science communication, and how to engage an audience in research. For a nice quick overview of questions and conclusions, see Nina Bjerglund’s post here.

In my view, trauma and PTSD researchers could benefit enormously from being on Twitter. For example, I would like to:

  • Get to know and connect with people in my domain of research
  • Learn about brand new papers or findings
  • Tell others about my brand new papers or findings
  • Have chats about ethics issues, dissemination, specific research problems; exchange best practices and come to shared solutions
  • Get credit for my work
  • Give others credit for their work
  • Have discussions about my work, and thereby, ameliorate it
  • Discuss other people’s work, and thereby…
  • Share data (see my two earlier posts on this topic: the first & second)

These wishes would make not only my work better. More importantly, they would improve the work and impact of the whole research domain (a I am not even talking about engaging with the general public; still sorting that one out, it may be very powerful as well).

It could all easily be done via Twitter. It doesn’t have to take much time, just a bit of regularity. For those who are interested, I’ll post recent tips about being effective on Twitter next week. We could start our own hashtag: #tprres (trauma, PTSD, and recovery research) or a nice alternative (you can cast your vote here!).


Will you join me?

I am very curious to know your stance on this issue. If you feel like it, leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter (of course :-)) @EvaAlisic.



Mollett, A., Moran, D., & Dunleavy, P. (2011). Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities LSE Public Policy Group, London School of Economics and Political Science., London, UK.

Reinhardt, W., Ebner, M., Beham, G., & Costa, C. (2009). How people are using Twitter during conferences Creativity and Innovation Competencies on the Web. Salzburg: Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft.

8 thoughts on “Trauma and PTSD researchers should tweet

  1. Thanks very much for highlighting the #MyResearch hashtag. This time has gone viral and I’m hoping it will stay that way and enable collaborations! Also, thanks for linking to my blog post. Finally, I would like to mention that I have organized a conference in the past few years (Mental Health Camp) where we explore the intersection of mental health and social media. I did this completely volunteer with my colleague Isabella Mori, and just out of interest in the topic (my research, as you can tell, is in environmental politics). Happy to expand on this since your research seems to be related.

    • Hi Raul, thanks for your comment. Great to hear about your volunteering for Mental Health Camp. I didn’t know it, but have looked it up. Its focus on reducing stigma via social media was/is very topical. Good luck with the 2012 edition, I’d be interested in following the twitterstream :-).

  2. Great idea Eva! I am not yet really familiar with twitter yet, but you really highlighted the benefits. See you soon on twitter!

  3. Great post. The more people we are to highlight the values of Twitter for professional purposes the better. Didn’t know of #myresearch – so great to become familiar with that. Also thank you for linking to my blogpost.

    I just returend for the conference Science Online 2012 in North Carolina which under hashtag #scio12 really made use of Twitter. Perhaps not so surprising for a conference focusing on Science Communication using online media but never the less extremely useful!

    Hope for much more of this!

  4. Hi Juul, Kishan and Nina,

    Thanks for your enthusiastic comments. We’ll hopefully start with the first Tweet chat soon, I’m looking forward to it.

    Nina, the Science Online conference looks like a fun and inspiring meeting, hope I can join one in the near future.

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