Recruiting for a Twitter-based study

Cover photo image credit: James Lumb

With a number of dissertation related interviews under my belt (thank you to those who have participated!), I thought I’d take a quick moment to relay my own experience with recruitment via Twitter, as I know I’m not the only one out there observing this medium…

One of the reasons Twitter is useful is because of its speed: you can quickly post, respond, and connect with anyone else using it. Of course, this speed also comes with a price: information overload. With so many tweets posted each day, any one shout into the stream can be quickly drowned out by the sea of others that quickly follow. Especially if it’s during the World Cup. Essentially, you are one tiny needle in a really, really big haystack.

Recruitment tweet 1

One example of a recruitment post.

Recruitment tweet 2

Another sample recruitment post

Hashtags make a big difference here, and the one I’m observing, #bcsm, is keenly watched by a number of the people who participate in their weekly Monday chats. With this in mind, part of my recruitment strategy has been to post brief messages indicating my interest in speaking with people and tag with #bcsm. Initially, this gained some traction, with retweets and a few responses. It became quickly evident, however, that this would not be enough.

So, I’ve started reaching out directly to individuals that post into the #bcsm stream, generally using the @username convention, which has turned out to be highly effective. Perhaps it’s the personal connection, or perhaps it’s just that this method guarantees that it “sticks” in their profile for whenever they may check into Twitter, but whatever the reason it’s been a more effective approach. And to all of those who have responded, I am grateful.

Once an initial connection is made I try to move to a less public space, of course, but part of the nature of the beast here is the publicness of it. I’m still seeking a few more people to share their opinions and experiences; if you’ve ever been a part of #bcsm, please consider taking part in this unique research project!!



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