#WhyWeDoResearch Tweetfest – the world’s first research tweetfest

Posted on by Kelly Gleason in Social media

Guest blog by Claire Whitehouse

What is a tweetfest? Well until it began to happen, I didn’t know myself!

The #whywedoresearch campaign was created back in 2014 with the purpose of giving people a voice to say why they do what they do and raising awareness of research and opportunities for patients, public and staff. It uses SoMe as a platform for inclusivity and voice sharing; people simply hold a placard which says why they are involved or think research is important.

International Clinical Trials Day is 20th May annually and this year I tweeted #whywedoresearch followers three weeks beforehand to see whether they would be interested in a one hour tweetchat as part of the celebration. The response was mind-blowing & a number of followers volunteered to host chats too. Oh and I should mention that I tweeted this query at 8am on a Saturday morning!!! 24 hours later we had 13 chats and by the start of ICTD week we had 24 confirmed including global hosts. Chats covered all sorts of areas which you can see below…

Tweetfest advert FINAL

We joined forces with the fantastic @wenurses team who are well known in the SoMe arena & who provided some statistics and wordclouds from the ‘fest’.WeNurses Stats of ICTD week

The engagement and support from #whywedoresearch followers across the world was and is something I just can’t put into words. We even had a posts from NASA!


The over-arching themes from tweetfest were;

  1. Patient and public involvement in research
  2. Education and support
  3. Geographical collaboration and use of SoMe
  4. Children and Young People in Research

SoMe must be the easy way to engage and involve; groups, individuals and interested members of the public are all there ready, waiting and pushing to be involved; as researchers, we’d be mad not to engage too!

On the Friday prior to ICTD week we had reached 80 million impressions. The statistics below show the full numbers from 8th December 2014 when the campaign started through to 10th June 2016 – wow!Overall stats

The individuals who led chats made the experience something out of this world; 42 individuals were involved in hosting chats and of those, only three had hosted or been involved in tweetchats before (myself included), new skills all round!

My husband Rus also agreed to act as our campaign model as we’ve created a limited number of t-shirts that people can win throughout the rest of this year – keep your eye on the #whywedoresearch twitter feed for information on competitions…

My right-arm in research Michael Keeling (@keeling_michael) & I made a small thank you video the following week which you can view below.

Everyone involved made tweetfest what is was…an absolutely incredible success. The entire campaign is ran voluntarily and outside of people’s professional roles and lives, the same can be said for those involved in this week of wonderful madness.

Tweetfest promo pic

You can find out more about the #whywedoresearch here.   And the final word goes to all patients and members of the public who have ever been involved in research, thank you all very much, you make the (& our) world go round!

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