In late spring 2021, graduate student Suhas Eswarappa Prameela was featured in Science Magazine’s Working Life section for his article about his experience as a young scholar on Twitter. He was inspired to write the piece after finding his own voice on the popular social media platform after unexpectedly going viral overnight himself for tweeting about the importance of properly naming research files. Since then, Suhas has been regularly tweeting about his personal experiences and perspectives as a PhD student.
“I am not an expert on academic life,” said Suhas, “I’m just a PhD student doing my best; I didn’t know whether I was doing anything right myself!”
Suhas is ahead of the game, as an early career researcher already established on Twitter, and his success there inspired him to encourage others in academia to pursue creating their own online presences. Initially, tweeting about his own day-to-day as a PhD student has led to his offering advice on the trials and tribulations applying to PhD programs. This perspective from someone still so close to the process has gained Suhas a large following on Twitter.
But for . He knows that the relationships formed through interactions online can translate into a professional network of fellow applicants, students, and researchers who will always be just a “send” button away. This can lead to letters of recommendation, job references, and hopefully, research collaboration. Suhas has also penned an article featured last month in Nature in which he discusses the importance of collaboration in the careers of young scholars. Collaboration begins with networking and Suhas says there’s no better way to connect with peers across the globe than with the world wide web.
“Many students have reached out,” says Prameela, “including a first-generation student in Nigeria, someone I would have never connected with were I not active on Twitter.”
Prameela finds tweeting and interacting with followers about his experience gives him the feeling that he is contributing in a positive way. In the article, he notes how he has connected with students from all over the world on these topics – something that he would never have had the opportunity to do without being active on Twitter.
“Sharing my experiences is useful and rewarding,” says Prameela. “I’ve learned that we are all stronger if we authentically share and connect with one another.”