Why aren't you on Twitter?
I admit that I've only joined recently. When one of my students invited me to join Twitter several years ago, I ignored the invitation. I thought it sounded like a waste of time. And there is certainly plenty of time-wasting to be done on Twitter. But there is also much to be gained for professional academics.
Here are three reasons that I find Twitter to be useful professionally:
- It's another source of news and recommendations about calls for papers, upcoming conferences, new or forthcoming papers, new philosophy books, etc.
- It's a way to share my own papers with other people who might be interested. Judicious use of keywords and hashtags help get your tweets in front of the right people.
- It's a way to stay up-to-date on relevant issues in other disciplines. For me, this mostly means keeping up with scientific and political news related to climate change and geoengineering.
Yes, there are ways to do all of these things without Twitter. But personally, I find Twitter a more convenient way to get this kind of news. Everything's in one place. Everything comes in easy-to-skim, informative headline-length tidbits. Unlike email listservs (which I generally find annoying), these tweets don't come mixed with emails to which I have to respond. It's easy to find new sources of helpful and interesting information (e.g., by taking Twitter's suggestions about people to follow or by following people whom your friends are following, etc.).
As of right now, I think the biggest obstacle to Twitter's being professionally useful for philosophers is that relatively few of us use it. I only know of a few other Cocoon contributors on Twitter: Moti Mizrahi (@thinkjustdoit), Justin Caouette (@JustinCaouette), Clayton Littlejohn (@cmlittlejohn), Richard Brown (@onemorebrown), and Patrick Taylor Smith (@ptsUWphil). (Are there others?) Marcus set up an account (@marcusarvan), but he hasn't been tweeting from it—and that's fine. Even if you're just lurking on Twitter, I still think it's worth signing up.