What I tweet

Captive audience (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

I’ve been asked several times recently about what I tweet and how I decide on things to push out there.

“How do you find so much stuff to say?” people ask, partly aghast, partly envious.

The questions were usually part of a broader conversation about social media and my enthusiastic embrace of Twitter. As well as my personal and Research Whisperer accounts, I maintain one for the research network I co-founded, the Asian Australian Studies Research Network (AASRN – @aasrn).

In any given week, I manage two Facebook pages, three Twitter accounts, and a website. This does not include the blogging and management of the Research Whisperer, or my personal blog.

What does this all mean (besides that Tseen is very good at over-committing herself)?

It means that I’ve become fairly good at dividing the streams of information for  different channels. It is, however, a constant learning process, and I’m still working out how to ‘clean up’ the demarcation between some accounts.

This post, focusing on Twitter, provides insight into how I’ve created the categories of information I do (and don’t) send out.

I provide my Top 5 Things I Tweet for each of these online profiles.

A crude breakdown of the streams and their ‘types’ would go something like this:

  1. Academic network (i.e. @aasrn)
  2. Professional advice | Personal Learning Network [PLN] (i.e. @researchwhisper)
  3. Personal (i.e. @tseenkhoo –> now @tseenster)


I. @aasrn – Academic network


  • Provide field information to all members/followers, as well as mark the boundaries of the network’s interests for everyone else.
  • Raise profile of network and its members.
  • Create and inform conversations about relevant issues.

Top 5 Things I Tweet for the academic network:

  1. News about the network’s members and the network itself (e.g. books, exhibitions, keynotes, new projects, conferences).
  2. News for members (ditto listing from previous point, but netting a wider range of academics/institutions/contexts; also includes current affairs items of relevance to the network).
  3. Relevant international perspectives on field issues (e.g. much of what happens in diasporic Asian studies would be relevant, theoretically, to Asian Australian Studies).
  4. Conversational tweets to members who happen to be online, or others who are asking for specific information.
  5. (occasional) General ‘chat’ tweets that pose rhetorical questions or everyday observations (usually of the microaggression variety, given the focus of much of the research in the network).

II. @researchwhisper – Professional advice | PLN


  • Flag new posts on the Research Whisperer blog, and push them out through the week.
  • Provide research development and higher education research links and news.
  • Create and inform conversations about relevant issues, including participating in various livechats (especially #ecrchat and the Australian #phdchat).

Top 5 Things I Tweet for PLN:

  1. Information about research cultures and research development in Australia and internationally (i.e. news items, blogposts, articles, events [such as livechats], new books or books newly discovered).
  2. New blog post flags (usually at different times, 3 times in a given week).
  3. Chatty conversations with colleagues and Research Whisperer friends.
  4. Publicising #shutupandwrite sessions (e.g. our stalwart Fri morning gig at RMIT’s Pearson & Murphy’s). For reasons why we focus on this activity, read about #shutupandwrite’s one year anniversary.
  5. (occasionally) Welcome to new followers and thank-yous for RTs/mentions.

III. Personal account


  • To flag what I’m reading, watching, doing, and feeling.
  • Conversations with buddies.
  • Stalking.

Top 5 Things I Tweet for my personal account:

  1. Talk about what cultural consumption I’m doing at the time (e.g. trashy movies and TV series, books I’m reading).
  2. Flag new personal blogposts from the Banana Lounge.
  3. Commenting on everyday guff, often to do with commuting (#commute) and the kiddies. Yes, even occasional posts about my lunch (in my defence, I have some damn fine lunches).
  4. Talking with buddies.
  5. Livechatting – I tend to use this personal account for the livechats that Research Whisperer participates in. Partly because I’m but one half of RW (@jod999 may want to chip in during a chat), but also I feel more able to be ‘me’ rather than ‘RW’ (and therein lies a whole post in itself…).

I try never to tweet:

  • Any specific information or sentiment that might be considered a #clm (‘career-limiting move’ – thanks, @jasondowns).
  • Names of my family or friends, unless they’re already on Twitter under their real name.
  • Identifiable photos of people without their consent.
  • Anything that I’ve already seen 3-4 times in my streams (I think that RTing a saturated bit of info is akin to offering stale chips at a party…).

I think I’m doing well with the splitting of information streams but, sometimes, when people follow my personal account because they also follow RW or AASRN, I get anxious.

My first thought is “They’ll be disappointed! I don’t tweet out much that specifically addresses those streams!”

The second thought is often “Get over yourself. They’re adults. If they get bored, they can un-follow and move on. Not everyone needs to have The Rock’s cheesy flicks and zombie cakes in their lives, you know.

(Third thought: “What if they DO un-follow me? Is it because I’m boring? AM I BORING…?”)

And this, dear readers, is a very good time to draw the curtain on my psyche.


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