Social media expert and paleontologist Jon Tennant taught attendees at the London Career Expo 2015 how to properly use Twitter to engage scientific communities. Here are his best tips.
Find Big Figures, Follow them And Check Who They Follow
This is a basic step in getting to know a new community. Start by following the biggest figures in your particular areas of interest. These are typically the most relevant scientists of the time. After following them, check out who they follow. This is what’s on their feed, which may be relevant to you.
Tweet From Conferences and Gain Followers
Not all members of the different scientific communities can be present at conferences, so tweeting from them would give you insight as to who shares your interests. By adhering to conference hashtags, you become more visible to the community, and other enthusiasts and students of science will follow you.
Make Scientific Communities Lists
It’s always helpful to separate the scientific communities you follow into lists. Separate them into microbiology, nanobiology and genetics, for example. This will make it easier for you to focus on one community at a time so no knowledge is wasted. As conferences come up, you’ll also find it easier to navigate. Mentions are also important. While it may not do much in terms of outreach, it could land you direct communication from the biggest figures in your area of interest.
Don’t Forget the Unfollow Button
The unfollow button is there for a reason. People are very conscious of what they say and do on the internet in recent years, but some things are just wrong. If you see something that you don’t like on your Twitter feed, regardless of the relevance of the author, unfollow them. It’s simple. Whether the author is a celebrity or a revolutionary scientist, negativity should never be tolerated.