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Nechama Brodie is a South African journalist and researcher. She is the author of six books, including two critically acclaimed urban histories of Johannesburg and Cape Town. She works as the head of training and research at TRI Facts, part of independent fact-checking organisation Africa Check, and is completing a PhD in data methodology and media studies at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Tweeting about your academic work might not have the same 'impact' factor as important journals and peer citations, but it certainly does appear to boost your public visibility — something that is increasingly important when so many fantastic research/journal articles are still hidden behind publisher paywalls.
This 2012 London School of Economics blog post, based on an original blog by the same author, tracked the profiles of several of her academic articles depending on which had been tweeted about, and which had not. It's not a huge surprise that the ones the author tweeted were downloaded and viewed an exponential number of times more than those secret hidden gems left waiting for someone to randomly stumble upon.
Bottom line: In academic circles, boosting your post on social media can be really valuable for exposure.
As this article is now five years old (it's still relevant I believe), I'd like to know if, as the author wondered, the increased number of downloads had any impact on actual use of the texts, specifically citations. I wasn't able to find this information, but I'm slightly intrigued so I may mail Melissa Terras and ask!
(PS: I saw this article via a Tweet, of course.)