I was talking with some friends recently about who uses Twitter (and more importantly who doesn’t). I found that you could almost predict which scientists would be Twitter users based on the amount of socializing they did in the real world. Some of the biotech and pharma companies that I’ve worked for had a Friday social hour which helped people cross some of the departmental barriers that are inherent in any organization. I found that those that attended these gatherings were more likely to be on Twitter. And if they had a blog then it was a virtual certainty that they were Twitter users.
When I asked a scientists why they weren’t on Twitter, I got the stock question, “Isn’t that something for kids?” I explained that a lot of scientists use it to share links to useful papers, and links to news items on scientific and technical developments.
Organizations like PLOS, Fierce Biotech, Nature, Science, Genetic Engineering News and Biotechnology use Twitter to post links to news items, blogs and journal articles. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies also use Twitter to keep you informed of the latest events. Speaking of events, here in San Diego, organizations like the San Diego Biotechnology Network, the San Diego Entrepreneur Exchange and many others, use Twitter to keep you informed about events that they are hosting.
In this economy you can’t simply rely on conferences for your yearly social outlet. Social media like blogs and Twitter make it possible for you to talk about the things that you’re interested in, and help make the kind of social links that are needed to find a new job. Recruiters are actively using Twitter to advertise jobs and find new recruits.
LinkedIn users can also use Twitters to let their friends know about their interests, and about developments in their field. By keeping your LinkedIn followers informed, you can improve your visibility in the job market.