Creating A Sexy Twitter Account For The Scientist 2.0

Adventurous Scientist 2.0, you want to create a Twitter account to try by yourself all this social media hype. Excellent choice Sir.

Now you need to set up an account that represents who you are and what you do. Next to this, it should transmit credibility. People should see that behind your twitter account there is a person, a trustworthy and interesting person.

They want to know two things from you:

  • Who is this guy?
  • Is it useful to follow him?

Nowadays there are many Twitter accounts that work in autopilot, either to spam or automatically share contents of blogs.

People tend to follow three steps to determine if an account is worth following:

  • They have a visual impact by your profile picture, background design, and username.
  • They will read your bio to see who you are and what you like.
  • They will scan your last tweets to confirm their suspicions on what you tweet about.

First impressions count, so you have to make sure that the first thing they see from you in Twitter. In the rest of this post I will guide you through the setup of a sexy Twitter account for a Scientist 2.0.

Choosing A Twitter Username

The first thing to decide is the username, what goes next to @ in Twitter. It can be real (@NextScientist) or a nickname (@peyron) or your expertise (@phylogenomics).

In either case, you will also have to provide a name to display along your username. Make sure the name is real, otherwise it gives the impression you are not the real deal.

Keep the username simple. There are a couple of social norms that you should be aware of. Try to avoid underscores and numbers, since they give you a teenage appearance, like if you where in a IRC chat room.

Bad username: @Blonde_Guy_1981

Good username: @JohnDoe or @JDoe.

Profile Image and Background

Who would you trust more, somebody with who you communicate in person or somebody that does via email? The same goes for who tweets using his real photo and who does it behind the default egg picture in Twitter.

As long as it is possible, use your real picture for your avatar. Even better, use the same picture for your different social media profiles (LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+,…), it gives a professional feeling and it helps others to recognize you in the cyberspace. Needless to say that you should use a serious picture, aka avoid your drinking party photos.

Having a background picture for your Twitter account adds extra points of credibility. You can use some of your own or just use a service like, which allows you to add some pretty backgrounds for free.

Writing a Bio

Here comes the creative part. People will read your bio to know more abYou have to squeeze in 160 characters:

  • Your expertise
  • Your hobbies
  • What you tweet about
  • Recent projects

Mentioning your hobbies will make people believe you have life outside the lab. If you would like that, please say that you are a member of the frisbee team.

Anticipating what you tweet about helps people figure out if they are going to enjoy your tweets. If you tweet mainly about your field of research, say it. Ditto if you also give your opinion to international politics. Don’t lie here, since they will look at your recent tweets to double check.

It is also wise to include any other projects in which you are involved, like books you have written, community work, entrepreneurial activities and the like.

It seems like a lot of information, so keep it short and as a last tip, try to separate different chunks of information using “|”.

Add a Website

Here you can provide a link to:

  • Your personal blog or website
  • Your LinkedIn profile
  • Your research institution
  • One of your projects
  • Your list of publications of Google Scholar or Mendeley

This is a great way to drive new visitors to your website. If you add the website of your lab you provide evidence that you are who you claim to be. If you add your publications you show that you are a successful scientist who surrendered to publish-or-perish.

Add a Location

This serves the purpose of letting people know where you are based and to help Twitter determine the trending topics that it will present.

Example of a great Twitter profile of a scientist: Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics)

Jonathan Eisen Twitter

  • Real name, check
  • Personal picture, check
  • Personalized background, check
  • Research areas, check
  • Hobbies and activities, check
  • Research institution, check
  • Location, check
  • Link to blog, check

A Real Scientist 2.0

Keep in mind that all these suggestions have a single goal: make you more appealing for people to follow you. The Twitter account for the Scientist 2.0 should help visitors to understand:

  • You are a real person and not a spammer
  • You take Twitter seriously
  • You will tweet about certain topics

If you find this difficult or don’t want to spend the time, hire me and I will do it for you. I can also assist you with science blogging and your online presence, check my consulting services for scientists.

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Featured image by keiyac
About Julio Peironcely

Julio Peironcely, PhD is the founder of Next Scientist and a PhD by Leiden University. He helps PhD students to stay motivated, be more productive and finish their PhDs. Follow him on Twitter (@peyron) or read more from him on


  1. Such a shame that you assumed that a scientist would be male.


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