I ran a few searches on Twitter and found that of the 600+ student-edited law journals being published in the U.S., roughly 125 journals have Twitter accounts. The question is how much are law journals using Twitter, and in what ways?
If your journal’s Twitter account pretty much sleeps until a new issue is published, Tweets out article titles, and then goes quietly back into its profile page, consider getting out on Twitter a little more and stretching your journal’s wings. This blog post will talk about some strategies. If your journal is new to Twitter or doesn’t yet have an account, check out this Prezi slideshow “What the *Tweet*? Social Media for Grad Students” by Melonie Fullick, and read on.
Engage users, brand your journal
Twitter is great for sharing information about your journal, but its potential for engaging users or drawing them into a journal’s activities are limited only by your imagination (and perhaps the school’s social media policy or guidelines, so check them out).
If you missed the recent blog post by Professor Derek Muller showcasing the great things going on at Case Western Reserve Law Review, it really is worth a read. Among other innovations, the law review uses Twitter to accept submissions (apparently via direct messaging with links to the author’s submission once the author follows the journal on Twitter). Earlier this year, the journal conducted an impromptu Miranda symposium on Twitter, where it reTweeted law professor comments and Tweeted related links. Search #TwitterSymposium, or check out the April 19 Tweets on @CaseWResLRev’s profile.
The law review also just wound up a campaign soliciting authors to “tweet review” one of its articles, and it offered a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Lego prize to participants. Go to @CaseWResLRev’s full profile and see its tweets from September 11 to October 4 for campaign details, for @replies to some of its followers with friendly nudges to participate, for the unveiling of the SCOTUS Lego designer (a high school student), and for the resulting “tweet reviews” of articles.
These kinds of campaigns show that the journal is innovative, engage the audience with the journal’s content, get user’s to generate content that is desired by the journal, and create an all-around buzz. Great work! Hey @CaseWResLRev, how about posting or Tweeting a photo of one of the desktop SCOTUS Lego prizes?
Live Tweeting of events is another strategy for engaging distributed followers in journal activities on campus. The New York Law School Law Review (@NYLSLawReview) hosted a few symposia on campus recently where it Tweeted a play-by-play of speaker comments (search #IncomeTaxNYLS and #MLKnyls on Twitter). The law review also Tweeted links to videos of the MLK symposium on YouTube.
Using play-by-play of another sort, the Tulsa Law Review (@TulsaLawReview) engaged users in newsworthy topics by curating stories on Storify and Tweeting about their works in progress to get its followers involved. See the law review’s full profile for the January and February 2012 posts.
Surely there are other great examples! Comment below or Tweet @ninarose15 if your journal has a highly active account or innovative account users on board.
A word about altmetrics
There are many metrics that have traditionally been used to gauge the impact of a journal, article, or scholar. In a digital environment that is increasingly open and social, more granular metrics are available that may take into account a variety of alternative data sources, including the number and quality of Facebook likes, Twitter Tweets, blog citations, mentions and recommendations around the web, and social bookmarks. Metrics based on data from the social web are referred to as altmetrics. Metrics that zoom in at the article-level might combine any number of altmetrics with traditional measures, as described in the 2013 primer on article-level metrics by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) (p. 5).
While rigorous research on the efficacy and reliability of the tools and data used to generate alternative measures has only just begun (p. 294), scholars, students, and the general public continue to push social buttons and read and share open research. Were altmetrics tools like these and these to gain acceptance alongside traditional metrics in law (and perhaps become customized for legal scholarship), the social ground and exposure your journal and its content will already have gained just might boost its impact ratings at the journal and article level.
Quiet stream or raging river
Twitter is about following other people, entities, media outlets, and more to find information, share ideas, participate in the conversation, and make connections. The more users you follow, the faster your Twitter feed (or “home timeline”) moves. Creating lists of select users you follow (or creating separate “streams” for Tweets using groups of users, lists, hashtags, and keywords on Hoot Suite) can make it easier to keep up with a raging Twitter feed.
A list of law journals on Twitter
If you haven’t yet read my About this blog page, you should know that I created this blog to see what interest there is among student editors in a blog about law journal publishing (partly because I had to create a social media campaign for a class, and partly because I’m interested in the topic). If it so happens that my blog disappears or sleeps after the semester, I hope to at least have made the digital community of law journals a closer one. So go ahead and find each other on my Twitter list @ninarose15. It’s called “LJs on twitter.” You can also subscribe to the list. Comment below or Tweet me if I missed your journal!
How is your journal using Twitter?
I’m sure to have only skimmed the surface here, so share a Comment about what your journal is doing to increase its reach and impact, and I just might give your journal a Tweeting on #FollowFriday or find some other way to “share alike.”