Tweeting in an Age of Overwhelming Information Overload and Increased Workloads


Twitter is no longer niche as it once was. How has my thinking changed in relation to Twitter use by academics? In this post I bullet-point some ideas that can be taken if desired as tips or strategies by those academic colleagues who are new to Twitter. You can scroll down and skim if you want.

 [PhD Comics, August 21 2014]
[PhD Comics, August 21 2014]
Motivation for this post

I‘ve been asked to become a “social media champion” for my school. I think it’s cool there’s an interest in embracing social media more widely, organically and effectively.

The past

Things have changed significantly since Sarah and I started touring the UK in 2011 giving social media workshops for academics with Networked Researcher (RIP), and, indeed my own personal and professional views on Twitter have evolved along the way- what we call “social media” is no longer a niche, defined region of the Internet and the Web, but as mainstream as it can possibly get, reaching a relevance and centrality in today’s information and technological sphere that is yet to be surpassed.

I wrote dozens of blog posts for a variety of international platforms (some long extinct) in the distant past (2011-2013) on academic Twitter use, including the following pieces that got published by the Guardian Higher Education Network.

If you click on the links and read the articles, please do take them with a grain of salt and historical perspective as things have evolved significantly since. I would write them differently today (also; headlines were the Guardian’s, not mine).

This tour down memory lane has also reminded of this blog post that I wrote for Altmetric in 2013 on “Strategies to Get your Research Mentioned Online“. It needs rewriting now.

(By the way, remember this LSE Impact Blog November 2013 post by Alan Cann on academic blogging going mainstream?)

Sharing these links here again as context and in case it’s of historical interest.

Those were the days. We were young. We thought everything was possible. (It still is, albeit in a completely different way!).

The present moment

How to think of academic tweeting in an age of overwhelming information overload and increased workloads? How has my thinking changed in relation to Twitter use by academics?

I cannot go in great detail here, but I thought I’d try to bullet-point some ideas that can be taken if desired as tips or strategies by those academic colleagues who are new to Twitter.

  • Twitter needs to be taken seriously. In spite of its ill-repute, it is an influential public platform for the dissemination of information. Precisely what information we disseminate on it is each user’s responsibility.
  • No one uses Twitter in the exact same way. Twitter is always-already experienced differently by each and every user. There are therefore no straight-forward rules. Most users learn along the way. An experienced Twitter user is more likely to use Twitter better than an inexperienced Twitter user who has read all the social media policies, terms and conditions and ethical guidelines available. An experienced Twitter user who has read all those documents will be an even better user, but that’s a personal view.
  • The default Twitter web client and the Twitter mobile app are not the right tools for busy people who are expected to author “content”. If you are busy, are already doubtful Twitter can deliver quality information, and feel being asked to tweet as an annoying imposition or a waste of time, there are no worse tools to start doing it than those.
  • For new users it may look daunting, but I totally recommended using TweetDeck to those academics being asked to manage a work account and/or wishing to be more effective locating and monitoring relevant accounts and content. TweetDeck is a free web-based application owned by Twitter. There is no mobile version. To use TweetDeck you will need a Twitter account. How to use TweetDeck guidance here.
  • In general, I think tweeting from your mobile phone for work is a bad idea- unless there’s no other choice, you are at a conference without space to place or plug your laptop, etc.
  • Before you start tweeting for work it helps to have clarity of purpose. Do not think of Twitter as an instant messaging service; think of it as a public publishing platform. What is it you need to communciate? To whom? Why? When? How?
  • Everyone and their dog is on Twitter. (And yet… so many aren’t so far). How will you become visible? Before joining Twitter, make a list of people and organisations you want to be visible to. Think of it as your Twitter contact list or address book.
  • Search for your stakeholders on Twitter via TweetDeck and create a list with a descriptive name. The more specific the list the better. You can have different lists. On Tweetdeck, you can get a column per list, where you will only see, if desired, tweets by those accounts you have added in your list. Think of it as an email folder for which you have created rules.
  • You don’t have to have a column for your timeline, where you would see everyone you follow. These days, to use your main Twitter timeline as your main way of monitoring Twitter is frankly inefficient, also because regardless of what your settings are the algorithm will prioritise some content over others and it will not be first posted first. We need to try to beat the relevance algorithm and curate our own dedicated timelines.
  • If your goal is to use Twitter to communicate the work you or your organisation does, you can schedule tweets in advance on TweetDeck. This means you don’t need to be on Twitter all the time. You don’t have to tweet in real time.
  • If you blog, make sure you add a social media sharing widget so that your posts get tweeted automatically when you publish. Make sure your site’s readers can share your posts on social media easily- customise the sharing widgets so the share text generated includes a mention of your username (e.g. “[Post title] [URL] via @ernestopriego“).
  • Systematically share what you publish or deposit in your open access institutional or data repository. If you don’t share your own work, who will?
  • Twitter is social, so it won’t work well if you only broadcast your own content. Even if your intention is to mainly broadcast what you or your organisation does, having columns of your stakeholders will allow you to check those columns at an appropriate time and see fewer tweets (more manageable) but potentially they will be more relevant because you have more carefully/strictly curated the sources in that timeline in advance.
  • Have a column for your notifications, and acknowledge positive feedback whenever you can. Often there’s no need to reply, ‘liking’ a reply suffices these days a an acknowledgement and it can go a long way. You are busy and others know it because they are busy too, but still appreciate a nudge of appreciation.
  • No user is an island. Create continents and archipielagos, build bridges.
  • Retweet what you find interesting or useful, support causes or themes you advocate, but avoid amplifying discord or bad vibes (those are, I’m aware, relative).
  • Include the disclaimers “RTs and likes are not endorsements” in your bio, to be safe. Avoid/do not RT tweets you wouldn’t have tweeted originally yourself (ask yourself: would I have published this for the world to see? By retweeting it, you are doing just that), including those tweets with links to content you have not checked before. Check and read links before retweeting/tweeting them.

In a way these same strategies have already been in practice for a while. They are not new. If anything, the pressing realities of employment in a digital age mean we need to be more drastically pragmatic and strategic.

I realise there’s way more I have to say about this, but I have surpassed the 1000 word count so I will have to leave it there. Thanks for reading, if you did.

Abstract for Creating Comics, Creative Comics 2020: DIY Digital Comics Without Drawing: Craft, Collaboration and Materiality in the Digital Age 

I am delighted my paper for the Creating Comics, Creative Comics 2020- BEYOND Symposium at the University of South Wales: Cardiff Campus (Monday 6th – Tuesday 7th April 2020) has been accepted. I am looking forward to participating.

Below I share a slightly revised version my abstract.

The Blank Page (page 4), London is a real city that has been descibed as ‘unreal’. The situations, settings and characters in ‘The Blank Page’ are entirely fictitious. London is a real city that has been descibed as ‘unreal’. The situations, settings and characters in ‘The Blank Page’ are entirely fictitious.
The Blank Page, page 4 (2014)


DIY Digital Comics Without Drawing: Craft, Collaboration and Materiality in the Digital Age 

Dr Ernesto Priego, Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London

In this presentation I will discuss examples of the poetry, autobiographic and non-fiction comics that I have been producing through purely digital means since ca. 2006.

The usual assumption is that a precondition of comics is drawing or illustration, particularly in some traditions. For instance,  bande dessinée in French means “drawn strip”, whereas in other languages terminology refers to tone or genre (“comics”, originally referring to the content being comical), length or cultural status (“historietas”- meaning little or pseudo stories) or layout features (“quadrinhos” literally meaning little boxes, panels; “fumetti”- literally little puffs of smoke; balloons). It is interesting that in the English language, the term “fumetti” is frequently used to refer to photo comics, regardless of origin or language.

I grew up surrounded by comics and fotonovelas or photo-comics (see, for example, Priego 2011), and though this fact most have defined my experience of graphic storytelling up to a certain extent, my work making comics without drawings has been more properly inspired by the collaborative nature of, initially, the craft of DIY fanzine making (I co-founded and edited Hemofilia, a horror comics fanzine [see Trujillo 2020], when I was 15), and, later on and more recently, the Web and Internet-mediated collaboration.

I will show examples from A Life Deferred (2006-2008), The Blank Page (2014), The Strip Hay-na-ku Project (2008-2019) and stand-alone examples such as “Addressing Sylvia” (2019a) and “Salut, Notre-Dame…” (2019b) and discuss how I have repurposed writing and images created by me and others, and how that practice fits in with my long-time interest in the comics grid (the array or layout of graphic panels; the specific distribution of images on a comic book page) as a poetic force, as a space for poetic revelation (Priego and Wilkins 2018). These are comics made with computers to be shared via computers (and of course mobile devices) that nonetheless are also embedded in the tradition of DIY fanzine making that, though digitally-mediated, still aim to achieve the feel and should I say “aura” of mechanical reproduction*.

I am interested in discussing the affordances of contemporary off-the-shelf software as a continuation and transformation of material practices of cut-and-paste and détournement, as exemplified by my own attempts at graphic storytelling with digital means.


*At this stage the Benjamin citation is not really needed, is it? ;-)


Priego, E. 2008. A Life Deferred Book 1. Issu.  [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2011. “¡Santo!”: The Stuff of Legend. The Comics Grid blog. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2014. The Blank Page. Everything is Connected. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. and Wilkins, P., 2018. The Question Concerning Comics as Technology: Gestell and Grid. The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship, 8, p.16. DOI: [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019a. Addressing Sylvia. figshare. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019b. Salut, Notre-Dame…. figshare. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Priego, E. 2019c. The Strip Hay(na)ku Project. A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics. California, USA: Meritage Press and L/O/C/P. ISBN 9781934299135. [Accessed 23 January 2020].

Trujillo, R. 2020. HEMOFILIA, fanzine de comics y terror. 5 January 2020. [Accessed 23 January 2020].


Ernesto Priego is a lecturer at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London. With a background in English Literature and Cultural Studies, he completed a PhD in Library and Information Science at the Centre for Digital Humanities, University College London, focusing on issues of comic book materiality in the digital age. In 2009 he co-founded The Comics Grid as a peer-reviewed scholarly blog. With Ernesto as Editor-in-Chief, the project was rebranded as The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship in 2013, becoming a fully-fledged peer-reviewed open access journal. The Comics Grid is now published by the Open Library of Humanities.


A decade later it’s here: The Strip Hay(na)ku Project. A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics (Meritage Press & L/O/C/P, 2019)

The Strip Hay(na)ku Project book cover

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

The Strip Hay(na)ku Project.  A collaborative experiment in sequential graphic poetics

Edited by Ernesto Priego

With contributions by John Bloomberg-Rissman, Sam Bloomberg-Rissman, Amy Bernier, lola bola (Jane Ogilvie), Horacio Castillo, Ira Franco, Ernesto Priego, and Ginger Stickney.

Foreword by Eileen R. Tabios

Introduction by Ernesto Priego

ISBN 978-1-934299-13-5

Release Date: April 2019

Page Count: 48 pages, full colour.

Price: US$14.00 or equivalent

Distributor: Lulu (Laughing/Ouch/Cube/Publications account)

For more information:



Meritage Press and Laughing/Ouch/Cube/Publications are pleased to announce the release of The Strip Hay(na)ku Project, a collection of hay(na)ku poems in comic strip form, edited and co-created by Ernesto Priego with contributors John Bloomberg-Rissman, Sam Bloomberg-Rissman, Amy Bernier, lola bola (Jane Ogilvie), Horacio Castillo, Ira Franco, Ernesto Priego, and Ginger Stickney.

“Hay naku” is a common Filipino expression covering a variety of contexts—like the word “Oh.” The “hay(na)ku” is a 21st century poetic form invented by Eileen R. Tabios. It is a six-word tercet with the first line being one word, the second line being two words, and the third line being three words. Poets around the world have used the form and have created text and visual variations of the form, including the “chained hay(na)ku” which strings together more than one tercet as well as the reverse hay(na)ku where the word count is reversed. Ernesto Priego started co-creating “strip hay(na)ku” poems in 2008, inspired by examples of Slovenian “strip haiku”.


About The Strip Hay(na)ku Project:

“Hay(na)ku, a 21st century fixed verse form, has inherited haiku-sensibility (with its caesuras or paradigm shifts) and added to it a new kind of game, with 1, 2, and 3 words, perfect for the special needs of alphabetical writings. The inventive collaborators of this book successfully transplanted hay(na)ku – not only its basic form but its spirit as well – into the field of visual writing, and what we get is new and exciting. The book contains real comic strips but almost as soon as I started reading/watching the panels I had the strong impression that instead of the usual multitude of voices, speakers, actors etc. we have only two “heroes”, so to speak, inside and outside, and even they are not so different, to say the least. There is no comic strip without a story, and this time we are told and shown (but the texts and images don’t explain each other, their connection is inspiringly dissociative), how those heroes or perspectives keep changing places. It happens gently, almost invisibly…”

-Márton Koppány



Ernesto Priego is a lecturer at the Centre for Human-Computer Interaction Design, City, University of London. He is the founder and editor in chief of The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship. He co-curated, with Ivy Alvarez, John Bloomberg-Rissman and Eileen R. Tabios, The Chained Hay(na)ku Project (Meritage Press and xPress(ed) 2010). He is also the author of Not Even Dogs. Hay(na)ku Poems (Meritage Press, 2006); the amazing adventures of Gravity & Grace (Otoliths 2008); The Present Day. The Mañana Poems (Leafe Press 2010); Ahí donde no estás. De nombres propios y otros fantasmas (Instituto Veracruzano de Cultura 2013); and, with Simon Grennan and Peter Wilkins, the non-fiction comic Parables of Care. Creative Responses to Dementia Care (City, University of London, University of Chester and Douglas College, 2017). He posts things online whenever he is able to on his blog,, and on Twitter @ernestopriego.

Eileen R. Tabios has released over 50 collections of poetry, fiction, essays, and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her books include a form-based “Selected Poems” series: The In(ter)vention of the Hay(na)ku: Selected Tercets 1996-2019; THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL: Selected Visual Poetry (2001-2009); INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & new 1996-2015, and THE THORN ROSARY: Selected Prose Poems and New 1998-2010. Recent poetry collections include HIRAETH: Tercets From the Last Archipelago, MURDER DEATH RESURRECTION: A Poetry Generator, TANKA: Vol. 1, and ONE TWO THREE: Selected Hay(na)ku Poems which is a bilingual English-Spanish edition with translator Rebeka Lembo. Forthcoming is WITNESS IN A CONVEX MIRROR which will inaugurate Tinfish Press’s ”Pacific response to John Ashbery.” She also invented the poetry form “hay(na)ku” whose 15-year anniversary in 2018 is celebrated at the San Francisco and Saint Helena Public Libraries. More information about her works is available at


Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

How ‘Alternative’ are Altmetrics? Online Attention to Scholarly Outputs and the Hegemony of the Global North

Are so-called ‘alternative’ metrics documenting attention to outputs from publishers, access types, funders, insitutitons and countries usually invisible via traditional citation metrics?  Another way to put it is, can altmetrics contribute to higher visibility of outputs usually excluded from mainstream metrication?

In this blog post I share some data resulting from text analysis I conducted on some of the metadata included in the complete Altmetric 2018 raw dataset.

I used Voyant Tools and OpenRefine in order to highlight which are the dominant title keywords, publishers, subjects, access types, funders and authors’ country affiliations.

The Altmetric Top 100 is an annual list of the research that has received most attention online on the platforms / services that Altmetric monitors each year. Altmetric has released an annual Top 100 list since 2013.

Previously I have blogged here about the Altmetric Top 100 since 2014. You can read more about Altmetric and the list on the Altmetric Top 100 site here.

Over time Altmetric has enriched the metadata they shared, also making the raw data available openly on Fighsare. This is very welcome as in the past we had to request the data directly and or do our analysis of the data to detect, for example, outputs’ access type, subjects, funders or institutional and country affiliations. This essential information is now provided in the dataset they share.

You can verify some of these counts by comparing them with the counts offered by Altmetric through their Top 100 2018 interface. The raw dataset includes 212 outputs. Please note metadata count totals do not always sum 212 as beyond the 100 presence of metadata is variable in the raw dataset.

Usual limitations apply: raw data may need refining and deduplication, and counts may have been affected by disiambiguated metadata (e.g. randomised vs randomized) in the original dataset. All counts require further discussion, which -should I find time- I could add in the future.

‘Cirrus’ Cloud of Top 100 Keywords in 212 Output Titles

'Cirrus' Cloud of Top 100 Keywords in 212 Output Titles
‘Cirrus’ Cloud of Top 100 Keywords in 212 Output Titles


Top 100 Keywords in 212 Output Titles

Term Count
global 14
study 14
association 13
human 13
mortality 13
adults 11
analysis 11
health 11
cancer 10
disease 9
effect 8
states 8
gender 7
impact 7
risk 7
trial 7
united 7
countries 6
evidence 6
genome 6
high 6
pain 6
population 6
science 6
cardiovascular 5
climate 5
cohort 5
low 5
million 5
social 5
time 5
activity 4
alcohol 4
blood 4
cause 4
data 4
earliest 4
earth 4
effects 4
energy 4
food 4
genetic 4
healthy 4
income 4
increase 4
largest 4
long 4
penguin 4
physical 4
plastic 4
prospective 4
reveals 4
sea 4
state 4
systematic 4
adolescents 3
africa 3
air 3
american 3
aspirin 3
associated 3
burden 3
care 3
cells 3
cluster 3
cognitive 3
complete 3
consumption 3
controlled 3
death 3
development 3
driven 3
early 3
elderly 3
emissions 3
environmental 3
exercise 3
gene 3
heat 3
ice 3
influenza 3
injury 3
intake 3
large 3
levels 3
life 3
major 3
mass 3
matter 3
meta 3
middle 3
new 3
patient 3
patients 3
randomised 3
randomized 3
sleep 3
suicide 3
treatment 3
trends 3


Publishers by Output Count in Raw Dataset (212 Outputs)

Publisher Output Count
Springer Nature 52
American Association for the Advancement of Science 31
Elsevier 25
American Public Health Association 16
Massachusetts Medical Society 15
United States National Academy of Sciences 15
American Heart Association 2
Public Library of Science 2
SAGE Publications 2
Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine 1
American Economic Association 1
Canadian Science Publishing 1
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press 1
Oxford University Press 1
Royal Society 1
Taylor & Francis Group 1

Subjects by Output Count in Raw Dataset (212 Outputs)

Subject Output Count
Medical & Health Sciences 44
Earth & Environmental Sciences 17
Studies in Human Society 11
Physical Sciences 9
History & Archaeology 7
Biological Sciences 6
Research & Reproducibility 4
Information & Computer Sciences 2

Countries of First Author Affiliation (where there were both single and several country affiliations in output byline) by Output in Raw Dataset (where metadata was available)

Country of First Author; All Output Count
United States 93
United Kingdom 29
Australia 14
Germany 10
China 6
France 5
Canada 4
Denmark 4
Global Consortium 3
Sweden 3
Israel 2
Italy 2
Austria 1
Belgium 1
Brazil 1
Egypt 1
Finland 1
Greece 1
Ireland 1
Mexico 1
No country data in affil; Spain; United States 1
Romania 1
Russia 1
South Africa 1
Sweden 1

There Be Dragons

First Author Country Affiliation in Altmetric Raw Dataset 2018
There Be Dragons: First Author Country Affiliation in Altmetric Raw Dataset 2018


Outputs with single country (non international) author affiliation in Raw Dataset (where metadata was available)

Single country author affiliation
Output Count
United States 59
United Kingdom 11
China 5
Australia 2
Canada 2
Italy 2
Austria 1
Brazil 1
France 1
Germany 1
Greece 1

Access Types in Raw Dataset (where metadata was available)

Access type Output Count
OA 64
Not OA 61
Free to read 13

Access Types in Top 100 Outputs

Access Type Output Count
Not OA 46
OA 41
Free to read 13


Some Insights

  • No outputs in the Arts and Humanities proper included in the dataset- even those in the History & Archaeology subject category (7 outputs) were published in STEM venues.
  • Springer Nature dominates the list even above Elsevier: is this because of Altmetric’s connection with the Nature Publishing Group? <– Stacy Konkiel from Altmetric responds: "Definitely not :) Our systems aren't preferential to NPG pubs/journals–they're agnostic. Why does NPG dominate? Hard to say!" (2018, Dec 12)
  • The United States continues to dominate author country affiliations in both single author bylines and international multiple author bylines, followed at a distance by the UK.
  • Brazil is the only South American country with First Author country affiliation in the raw dataset.
  • South Africa is the only African country with an affiliation in the raw dataset.
  • Stacy Konkiel from Altmetric is right to clarify  that “the ‘countries’ aren’t just first author countries, they are for all authors associated with T100 papers (beyond the first 100, coverage is spottier, as we had less reason to enrich and check it manually)” and that “also worth looking into is the preponderance of papers in the T100 by a few of the same teams. I was genuinely surprised to see how similar they were, and given that, that they had enough attention to all make it into the T100.” (2018, Dec 12; thread)
  • Not Open Access (including ‘Free to Read’, which is not Open Access) dominates the access type in both the top 100 and the complete raw dataset.

Future Work

A lot….



Engineering, Altmetric (2018). 2018 Altmetric Top 100 – dataset. figshare. Dataset.

Konkiel, Stacy  [skonkiel]. (2018, Dec 12). @ernestopriego “Springer Nature dominates the list…is this because of Altmetric’s connection with the Nature… [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Konkiel, Stacy  [skonkiel]. (2018, Dec 12). @ernestopriego also worth noting is that the ‘countries’ aren’t just first author countries, they are for all autho… [Tweet]. Retrieved from

Konkiel, Stacy [skonkiel]. (2018, Dec 12). @ernestopriego Also worth looking into is the preponderance of papers in the T100 by a few of the same teams. I was… [Tweet]. Retrieved from