Make your presence something that people will want to follow. You only have a few (less than 30) words for your description of yourself, so if you want a professional presence there, make those words count.
You’re on Twitter basically for two reasons (1) to join conversations and add to them and (2) to provide value in the form of interesting information for your followers. You can do this through original information or posts, through likes, or through retweeting.
A “like” helps you to save something for future reference and supports the original post; a retweet implies endorsement or information that you think others need to have. You can use the @ or hashtag # to call attention to the tweet if you think it would be useful or relevant for someone else.
If you’ve just joined and are deciding whom to follow, try some of the following:
Scholars in your area,
Academic and research libraries and librarians, which often have great feeds featuring their collections as well as research grants. Beinecke Library, British Library, New York Public Library,
Aggregator sites such as openculture or Century Past History.
Groups–many scholarly societies have Twitter feeds (@SSAWWrs).
Contemporary authors: Neil Gaiman and Margaret Atwood have active Twitter presences, for example.
If you’re tweeting a conference panel:
Be sure that it’s all right with the conference/panelists.
Use the hashtag
Don’t tweet individual tweets on the panel; instead, use a threaded tweet by replying to yourself. To post a series of individual tweets clogs up people’s twitter timelines.
If there’s an unusual meme or piece of information, indicate where you got it. (This usually isn’t a problem if you’re retweeting, since the source is shown.)
You can choose to follow, unfollow, or mute people. You might discover that some people go on Twitter solely to promote themselves or their projects, so you might choose to follow them even if they never provide additional value in other ways.
Follow junior scholars! A Twitter study a few years ago showed that users tended to follow those at or above their professional level, but that’s not the ethos you want.
Set up your professional site (if WordPress) to post to Twitter and Facebook.