Spoiler Alert: It'll make you smart(er) and you'll have more friends.
I am preaching to the virtual choir. But alas. If you find yourself needing to speak in defense of academics on Twitter, you can keep this in your back pocket:
Got a rejection? EVERY ACADEMIC has been rejected (by reviewers and potential publishers). Academic Twitter is a community where you can get advice or commiserate. (If you haven't been academically rejected yet, you need to #GetYourManuscriptOut so that you can join the club!)
Published a paper? A book? Tweet that $^*% out, brothers and sisters! Your aca-friends want to know! Heck, a revise and resubmit is cause for celebration!
Not all of us know or have real-life, prize-worthy mentors like Raul Pacheco-Vega, Nathan Hall, Inger Mewburn, WomenEd and Steve Shaw. These folks generously and tirelessly give advice and support to grad students and early career researchers. Spy on what they say and either be like them (if you're senior faculty) or take on their suggestions (if you're a grad student, ECR, or anyone who has the good sense to be productive).
3. Get Better News.
This weekend, the Panama Papers almost broke the Internet and Trump was up to his predictable misogynistic and racist tomfoolery. I looked to #AcademicTwitter friends to get more than traditional news sites could provide. For example, Steve Saideman dishes sophisticated info on Trump (he is the only one I know who can deliver on this oxymoron, and he also provides helpful political info that I wouldn't otherwise study or know about).
4. Have A Laugh Because You're Not Alone.
Everyone has that friend who tells it like it is and helps you to take things less seriously. In #AcademicTwitter, you can have more than one. Find yourself in ShitAcademicsSay. Swoon over my meme-making buddy ResearchMark. For weird and wonderful academic news topped off with cat pics, visit AcademiaObscura. Geniuses such as AcademicPain, SnarkyMinion, Professor Snarky, and TheLitCritGuy say what you need to hear, I promise. And it's all funny stuff guaranteed to stop even the worst impostor syndrome from escalating. Anyone who pooh-poohs the value of humour can take a long walk off a short tenure track.
5. Be A Mind-Blowingly Interesting Scholar.
Not only at dinner parties. I'm a social scientist, yet I follow intelligent people who study wolves, botany, and volcanoes. I follow surgeons, palliative care physicians, and leaders in queer culture. I have no training in these areas and I don't publish in the journals that they do. I follow these folks because they are good people doing meaningful research, and learning is a good thing.
Scholar Nation, this defense is done. Go #GetYourManuscriptOut, and share your suggestions on #ScholarSunday. Collectively, we can make academia great again!