A couple of a days ago I tweeted out a link to an excellent article produced by Lawrie Phipps and Donna Lanclos (Trust, Innovation and Risk: a contextual inquiry into teaching practices and the implications for the use of technology) and I just had a look at the ‘tweet Activity’ stats that Twitter generates:

Tweet activity

As you can see from the screenshot above there where 2221 impressions in three days. Twitter impressions are the number of times a tweet shows up on someones timeline. It doesn’t necessarily mean someone has read the tweet but it is an indicator that something is happening. Also the level of engagements shows the total number of times a user interacted with the tweet, including likes, retweets, replys, and clicks on username or profiles. Ok so this tweet hasn’t gone viral but you can see its had some sort of impact.

Increasing there seems to be a growing body of research literature based on the impact Twitter can have on disseminating research.

Rowlands et al (2011) early study showed that the use of social media (and Twitter in particular) was being used by researchers to identify research opportunities and promote their research. Darling et al (2013) looked in more detail at how Twitter can be used to generate ideas for a scientific publication, how it can influence the editing and writing up of the manuscript and then publicising of the article. It also looks at the pros and cons of this process.
Researchers have also argued that attending to alternative metrics, such as examining references to the scholarly literature in Tweets, can extend scholars’ impact beyond citations in peer-reviewed journals (Priem & Hemminger, 2010). For instance, some have found that the frequency of article mentions via Twitter appears to correlate with subsequent downloads and citations (Shuai, Pepe, & Bollen, 2012; Thelwall, Haustein, Larivière, & Sugimoto, 2013), although the correlation between Tweets and citations in all fields is unclear (Haustein, Peters, Sugimoto, Thelwall, & Larivière, 2013) and in some cases appears to be weakly associated (de Winter, 2014).


Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Russell, B., Canty, N., & Watkinson, A. (2011). Social media use in the research workflow. Learned Publishing, 24(3), 183–195.

Darling, E., Shiffman, D., Côté, I., & Drew, J. (2013). The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication. Retrieved 4/4/17, from PeerJ Preprints: https://peerj.com/preprints/16/

Will need to add further reference when I have time…