What is it?

Twitter is a social media platform that is based around microblogging.  You can use it to send posts of 140 characters in length.  You can share links, videos and photos in these short posts.  Users can follow your account and your tweets will come up in their timeline.  You can also use a hashtag to tag your tweet as pertaining to a certain topic.  When users click on a hashtag, they will see all posts that utilised the hashtag.  In higher education, popular hashtags include #highered and #edtech.  Every user has their own unique Twitter handle beginning with the '@' symbol.  To respond to a user directly, you can tweet using their handle.  For instance, if you wanted to tweet to NUI Galway, you would use @nuigalway in your tweet.  You can also retweet tweets that appear in your timeline that you would like to share using the retweet function.  

Here are some sample tweets:

Sample Tweets


Some academic professionals inlclude a disclaimer in their Twitter bio that states that these opinions are your own and not that of your institution.  See the following example:


Uses & Benefits

Twitter is a popular means of communication for a wide variety of users.  It can be used personally to connect with friends or those with similar interests.  It's also popular with politicans, celebrities and businesses as a means of staying connected and promotion of work.  

Twitter can be used in academia in a variety of ways.  It is useful for sharing ideas and work with your colleagues on a global scale.  It is also a powerful tool for connecting and networking.  It can be used to share information with students.  You can share interesting links, thoughts, media and even create a hashtag for each module so that your students can follow all of the tweets with ease.  Students can also use Twitter for class discussion and collaborative purposes. 

The fact that Twitter is a microblogging tool that only allows for 140 characters per tweet is also beneficial.  Tweets are concise because they have to be.  Therefore, the transfer of information is quick for both the sender and the recipient.  

Keep these points in mind as you consider tweeting:

  • Using Twitter is a quick and powerful way to dissemninate information on a large scale
  • Tweets can include thoughts, media and links
  • You can use hashtags to ensure that your intended audience reads tweets on your topic
  • Students can also use Twitter to collaborate and hold discussions
  • It is a valuable tool for connecting with colleagues and sharing your work



The London School of Economics maintains a list of academics on Twitter separated into subject areas, based on their research areas: Social Sciences; Arts & Humanities; STEM; Media & Journalism; Higher Education; Business and Management.

Below are some noteworthy Twitter accounts from higher education professionals:

URL Name Description

Iain MacLabhrainn Scot in Ireland/astrophysicist/educator/bluffer


Simon Warren educator, academic, teacher, thinker. my current motto is: not-knowing is the basis of wisdom

John Breslin

Senior Lecturer @NUIGalway. Co-founder @boards @adverts_ie @StartupGalway @InnovatingWest @GalwayCity @PorterShed. Own views.

Louise Alcock Dr octopus, deep-sea diva and feminist

Catriona Carlin PI: health benefits from biodiversity @EPAresearchnews project @healthfromenvir @nuigalway. Coordinates MSc Sustainable Resource Management: Policy & Practice Donncha O'Connell Established Prof of Law & Head of Law School at NUIG. Commissioner, Law Reform Commission. Member Legal Aid Bd, former member Druid Theatre Bd. Tweets personal. John Danaher Lecturer and blogger. Tweets mainly about philosophy, ethics, technology and law. Mike Hogan Psychology, Neuroscience, Systems Science, Education, Collaboration, Graphicacy, Creativity, Pragmatism, Human Development, Cultural Evolution; Dad :) Larry Donnelly Boston lawyer. NUI Galway Law Lecturer. Columnist, and Occasional TV/radio pundit. TransAtlantic tweets. John Morrissey Senior Lecturer in Geography at NUIG | Geopolitics | Security | International Development | Loves include hurling, rugby, cooking Italian food and O & D Catherine Cronin Open educator & researcher @NUIGalway. Thinking & talking about open education, network literacies, digital identities, #ITwomen. Twibbon for @YesEquality2015 Mary Loftfus IT head (Stiefel/GSK), eLearning facilitator/developer (NUI Galway), CoderDojo Mentor, photographer, mother, learner, eater of chocolate. Did I say learner? Bonnie Long California transplant, honorary Galwegian. Teacher educator, techie, trekie, mum, artist-in-hibernation. Lover of creative technologies for education. Su-Ming Khoo Lecturer in the School of Political Science and Sociology, at NUI Galway. Interested in development, human rights and higher education. Sarah Berthaud Lecturer in conference interpreting, psycholinguistics, linguistics and French. Enda Howley Lecturer, Researcher and Course Director at NUI Galway. Interested in Technology, Education, Current Affairs, Sport & Fitness. All opinions my own. NUIG Drama Drama and Theatre programmes at NUI Galway (BA, MA, PhD). Stay in touch with news and events! Una FitzGerald BIomedical Science Lecturuer and Neuroscientist working on Multiple Sclerosis Gary Gillanders I'm a physics lecturer and, when I get time, a gamma-ray astronomer at National University of Ireland, Galway. Dara Cannon Neuroscientist & Anatomy Lecturer: bipolar disorder, depression, psychosis, neuroimaging, PET, MRI, diffusion MR, image analysis, science, brain, mind ... Gerry Molloy Bio: infant, toddler, child, adolescent, adult. Researcher, Lecturer, Psychologist, Parent of infant and toddler. Always changing & adapting. Views are my own. Doug Belshaw Open Educational Thinkerer. Consultant focusing on #digilit & #openbadges. Previously: @mozilla / @jisc / school senior leader / #historyteacher. Steve Wheeler Web 2.0 researcher, author, international speaker, associate professor, edupunk, disruptive activist. Leone Gately Educational Technology Coordinator @ucdtl @ucddublin Interested in technology-enhanced learning #tel #blended #onlineteaching in #HigherEd Conor Galvin I am a currently Director of Graduate Studies at the College of Human Sciences, UCD Dublin, where I work on various education, ICT, public policy and research methods programmes. UCD Teaching & Learning Providing teaching and learning support to the UCD community to enhance the student educational experience. Tweets by @aine_galvin & @leonegately Aine Galvin Director of Teaching & Learning @ucddublin. Interested in student learning, quality enhancement, educational technology, blended learning. Stephen Kinsella Senior Lecturer in Economics @UL. Columnist @sundaybusiness. F&B Training Lecturer in F&B, Interests: Wine, digital media in learning, Food, Cocktails. All tweets are own opinions #SCHM#SCHMTweetSeats

Get Started

The following video will help you get started using Twitter for your teaching:


Bista, K. (2015) "Is Twitter a Pedagogical Tool in Higher Education? Perspectives of Education Graduate Students", Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15 (2), pp. 83-102.

Daly, Jimmy. (2012) "6 Higher Education Hashtags to Follow on Twitter", EdTech, 26 June. Available at:  [Accessed 27 July 2015].

Franker, K. (2010) University of Wisconsin Twitter Rubric. Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2015].

Junco, R, Heiberger, G, Loken E, (2010) "The effect of Twitter on college student engagment and grades", Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 27(2), pp. 119-132. Available at: [Accessed 31 July 2015].

Inside Higher Ed. (2014) Twitter Directory for Higher Education. Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2015].

London School of Economics. (2011) Using Twitter in university research, teaching, and impact activities. Availabe at: [Accessed 31 July 2015].

TeachThought Staff. (2012) 60 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom by Category. Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2015].

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