I have recently started a new Twitter account that is dedicated to my professional or “academic” self (@FrancesRyanPhD). It wasn’t something I was desperate to do, and it isn’t something I’m completely happy about. However, it is something that I felt I should do.
The decision to start a new account was not taken lightly. Because I started my @CleverFrances account as a personal space, my followers reflect my personal interest. But as I began tweeting more and more about my PhD, I started to gain more academic followers – especially when I attended conferences where I was tweeting quite a bit with the conference hashtag.
However, I noticed that my increased academic following was making me feel unsure about what or how to post. I feared that people were following me based on a series of research-related posts at a conference and that they might feel cheated or conned when I started tweeting about whisky and running the following week. Because, if I’m honest, I tweet more personal stuff than research stuff.
The uncertainty soon led me to lose a bit of joy when I was tweeting. I felt obligated to my academic followers to be more academic. But I also felt that I needed to be true to myself and the original intent of my Twitter account, which meant I had to continue tweeting rubbish.
I will continue to tweet at least some academic stuff from my personal account because my PhD is part of the whole me. However, I will stick to academic tweets on my academic account. I may even find that I am tweeting more academic stuff on that account than I have in the past as I won’t worry about inundating my non-academic followers with academic stuff.
If you are on Twitter and want to follow my academic journey there, please do find me @FrancesRyanPhD.
If you want to follow the full-on crazy version of my life (which includes academics), you can find me @CleverFrances.
(And please feel free to follow both if you wish. I’ve nothing to hide. Or at least I wouldn’t dare tweet about something I wanted to hide!)