Scientists on Twitter: Preaching to the choir or singing from the rooftops?

Science communication is as old as science itself, reaching even best-selling levels with some extraordinary examples such as “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin or “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” by Stephen Hawking. Currently, and thanks to social media, communication including science communication is incredibly accelerated. However, the real reach of scientists in social media in general, and Twitter in particular, is still unknown both from a quantitative and qualitative point of view. In Cotê & Darling (2018), the researchers shed light on this matter by studying the real reach of 110 Twitter accounts managed by individual scientists. They found that scientists are predominantly followed by other scientist (55%), however the more followers the account had (beyond 1000) the more diverse those followers became, confirming that tweeting has potential to disseminate scientific content to the general public. According to the authors “These results should encourage scientists to invest in building a social media presence for scientific outreach”. (Summary by Isabel Mendoza) Facets Journal 10.1139/facets-2018-0002

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