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#EvalTwitter Week: Twitter for New Evaluators – Understanding the field by Libby Smith

Hi, I’m Libby Smith from ARC Evaluation. I’m going to talk about using Twitter to better understand the field of evaluation. For the past four or five years I have encouraged our evaluation students to use Twitter, but it’s only been in the last six months that I have really taken my own advice!

I used to worry about two things: 1) adding another social media platform to my list of things to do and 2) sending tweets out into the world! What did I have to say that other people would care about? When one of my former students turned independent consultant and dataviz influencer, Deven Wisner, started tweeting up a storm, I knew I couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore.

I have long seen the potential in using Twitter to enhance understanding and to build connection to our professional community. As practitioners, it can be challenging to stay up to date on the published literature and the trends in our field. Following the leaders in our field and even your peers will provide you access to all sorts of hot tips, cool tricks, and rad resources.

Hot Tip: Developing a well curated list of accounts to follow is key. A good place to start is the Evaluators list compiled by Sheila B. Robinson. You can either follow that feed or use that list to start building your own. You can’t follow too many people, but keep your list focused on your professional interests. Social media can turn into a time suck, so make sure your feed is filled with valuable information that will help you grow as a professional. You will quickly realize the size of the field and the scope of the impact that evaluators are making in the real world.

evaluators on twitter list & number of subscribers

Rad Resources: So, now you are following all the cool evaluators and leaders in our field, learning about cutting edge data-viz techniques, improving your presentation skills, getting inspired to make a difference, and finding awesome evaluation jobs. Adding your voice to this mix can seem overwhelming! I recommend event-based tweeting as a great place to start. I started tweeting while attending the AEA annual conference, but you don’t have to wait for a big event. For example, you could tweet from the next professional development session you attend! I recommend including an interesting photo that adds context and meaning to your tweet. Joining the chorus of voices from evaluation will both improve your understanding of our field and help you connect with other evaluators from your specific evaluation niche!! I’m happy to give you more hot tips and cool tricks, you can tweet at me or send me a DM. Happy Tweeting!!!

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating #EvalTwitter week. All posts this week are contributed by evaluators engaging, networking, and collaborating through Twitter. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “#EvalTwitter Week: Twitter for New Evaluators – Understanding the field by Libby Smith”

  1. Thanks for this great post Libby! I’ve talked with a lot of evaluators who find Twitter overwhelming and your guidance gives some great first steps. I know I had a hard time understanding the Twitter thing and I’m excited we are encouraging our fellow #eval folks to give it a try.

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