Twitter: A Collaborative Launchpad?

By Sheeva Azma and Monisha Arya

Twitter can be a powerful social media platform to build your business in science and health communication. You can talk about your work and can post helpful links to resources, blogs, and relevant news articles. You can also learn by following the work of others in your field. Of course, since Twitter is a “social” platform, you can also interact with a large number of people and build relationships in the virtual space.

Twitter Is A Place for Information Sharing

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of communication and collaboration in the scientific community, for example. Scientists and doctors have taken to Twitter to share emerging information — for example, new variants of the novel coronavirus, preprints of journal articles about the science of COVID-19, perhaps even anecdotes from the medical clinic. Some of my favorite COVID-19-related Twitter accounts belong to scientists Akiko Iwasaki, who is at the forefront of immunology research about COVID-19, and Ian Mackay, a scientist who retweets interesting and relevant studies and tidbits about COVID-19.

You don’t have to be a COVID-19 researcher to work productively on Twitter. You may be using Twitter nonstop to chat with others in your field about #PRTwitter or #MarketingTwitter, or to participate in #FreelanceChat or #SciCommChat. Did you know that you can also use the social media site as a launching pad to foster collaborations?

Twitter Can Be A Launchpad for Collaboration

As we’ve mentioned, being part of an online social community and networking is one main benefit of Twitter. You may not think of your interactions on Twitter as networking, because the popular social media site can be such a fun place to meet like-minded people. However, you can, in fact, use the site to collaborate on work without a lot of extra effort.

That’s what I (Sheeva) did in early 2020 when I was just launching the Fancy Comma blog. I had just started a website to adapt rapidly to the changing needs of the pandemic and was not sure how to get started creating web content for my blog. Taking a chance, I went onto Twitter and I posted a call for guest posts for my blog. I received a reply — through Twitter’s direct message (DM) feature — from Monisha of @AryaCampaigns. I don’t know Monisha “in real life” but we follow each other on Twitter.

Two people working together are more likely to brainstorm creatively, solve a problem, and generally yield more insights than one person going at it alone. Since I was just starting this blog, I didn’t know what to write about. Luckily, Monisha, a medical writer and health communications professional, was struck by a brilliant idea: we could share our best Microsoft Word tips and tricks.

Collaboration via Twitter Direct Messages (DMs)

As you can see from our informal messages above, Twitter DMs are a convenient way to bounce ideas off of each other and come up with good ideas — whether it’s for a blog post, a podcast (I’ve landed a couple of podcast appearances through Twitter DMs), or whatever else you are working on. I have even heard of journalists using Twitter DMs to send themselves bits and pieces of potential story ideas.

Twitter: A Simple Convenient Alternative to Slack and Workplace Collaboration Tools?

As we’ve discussed, Twitter can also be a work collaboration medium in addition to a discussion forum — sort of like Slack and the proliferation of collaborative chat tools these days. The benefit of Twitter over these other tools is that you’re probably already using Twitter to chat with friends and keep tabs on your industry and perhaps the world at large. So why not use it as a way to network and make new collaborations?

Hopefully, we’ve convinced you that Twitter is a great place to develop new collaborations — and, as the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” The dream, in our case, was writing a blog post. Many new bloggers may have a desire to write but are short on ideas — or may have expertise in a given area but could benefit from collaborating with another professional writer to express or amplify their ideas in a blog post.

Twitter Collaboration Can Improve Digital Strategy

Collaboration also improves the quality of your blog content, which is essential for a good SEO strategy. Writing about Microsoft Word tools, I realized I had only used the bare bones functions of the software. On the other hand, the new functionalities I had been taking for granted were new to Monisha. So, joining forces to write a blog post about our favorite aspects of Microsoft Word was a learning experience for both of us. It also helped us share our knowledge and skills with others who may wish to get more out of the popular word processing software.

Here’s the blog post we wrote together, by the way!

Monisha Arya is skilled medical communications professional and founder of Arya Communications. Find her on Twitter at @AryaCampaigns or on LinkedIn.

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