Scientists
and social media

Use of social media by scientists is on the rise. It provides an abundance of tools to promote their professional activity and to rapidly share research information with the world. Social media by its very nature connects a vast quantity of like-minded users with each other, so even scientists can share content with a plethora of advantages…

Social networks: a monitoring tool

Many Internet users turn to social media to access information in a ‘passive’ way. In fact, social media makes it easy to find content on a specific theme, by subscribing to certain users or with the help of hashtags. All scientific disciplines are included: biology, neuroscience, astrophysics…

It is a direct, fast and free way to keep up with the latest news on a topic: by consulting the latest posts put out on a theme, the debates that actors from a field have with each other, or by following an interesting conference taking place on the other side of the world!

Cultivate your network, and improve your visibility

Social media also help you expand your network, be it with experts from the same field, scientists from other disciplines, or even the general public. They provide a platform for discussion and make it possible for anyone who is interested to join the conversation. Using social networks also improves interactions between researchers and journalists, which gives their work more influence. In fact, a scientist who tweets about his research activities is more likely to be quoted in an article since many journalists favour social networks as a monitoring tool.

Twitter: how to popularise in 280 characters

Nowadays, Twitter is the preferred social network by scientists, Facebook being considered too personal, and Instagram as having too limited a scope. By the way, the website Science Mag published a list of the 50 most followed scientists on Twitter back in September 2014. At the time the record holder was American astrophysicist, Neil de Grasse Tyson, with 2 750 000 followers! Paradoxally, they received some backlash on social media  about how they made their list and who can be considered a ‘scientist’. But more recently, Lifewire has provided this list of their favourite science Twitter accounts.

To increase visibility on Twitter, favour multimedia content (images, videos): it is shared more often. Using hashtags (#) also enables you to highlight your tweets on a given theme or during an event. And since you can’t say much with 280 characters, we advise you to add a link to your blog, website or article. The Tweet must then be written in a way that will intrigue fellow Tweeters and make them want to know more (view our article about tips on scientific titles). A few emoticons can also help increase the impact of your message.

If you do set out on Twitter, the best way to develop a community is by regularly posting messages and reacting to Tweets in your network. And of course, send us a little ‘hello’ or follow our account @AgentMajeur.

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> Written communication

> Popularising science

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