Several studies have shown that tweeting and blogging about scientific findings can increase their impact.
Scientists can also tweet their research directly to decision makers. Most members of the US and Canadian governments have twitter accounts and are actively using them.
This paper was the product of a Twitter conversation itself!
Sciam gets 1000s to 10,000s page views per blog post
Social Media for Scientists
PhD, Mass Communication,
• M.S., PhD Biological Engineering
• My primary professor leaves
• I start a blog
• I start PhD program in
Digital media made this possible
What is social media?
• Mailing lists
“Social media platforms aren’t just digital water coolers. They
are the way the world is networking and communicating. They
are how and where we share information – with friends,
colleagues, acquaintances and any and everyone else.”
– Christie Wilcox
The Story of Scott Morello
During a 2013
Scott told Karyn over
beers that he wasn’t
sure why one should be
using social media as a
Karyn took to Twitter to
convince Scott to start a
Faculty members have found students
Dean Lisa Graumlich at Wash U. says
online outreach belongs in tenure
Boosts in research efficiency.
Why Use Social Media?
• Boost your professional profile
• Act as a public voice for science
• Online outreach can help you get (NSF)
• Increase impact of your papers
• Open science & Collaboration
"Those that have the privilege to
know, have the duty to act."
- Albert Einstein.
Highly tweeted articles were 11 times more
likely to be highly cited than less-tweeted
articles. Top-cited articles can be predicted
from top-tweeted articles with 93%
specificity and 75% sensitivity.
- J Med Internet Res 2011;13(4):e123
Blog about your Science
• Collaborative Blog posts have even lead
to peer-reviewed papers.
A Revolution: Open Science
• Sharing scientific data, process, results,
and opinions openly
– Open access and data
– Open peer review
– Open data
– Preprint sharing,
– Scientific blogs
Darling et al. (2013).
The role of Twitter in
the life cycle of a
Know How to Use it
“Online social media tools can be some of
the most rewarding and informative
resources for scientists – IF you know
how to use them.”
– Bik & Goldstein 2013
Think about your Goals
• What do you want out of your social
– Increased citations for your papers?
– Increased visibility of your research?
– Outlet for opinions?
– Open data and sharing?
– Translation of science for broad audience?
A good start:
• Establish a professional website
– Ex. wordpress.com
• Follow social media accounts of
scientists w/ similar interests
(Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn)
• Bring your science to the blogosphere
– Scilogs.com, Nature Network Blogs
– Scientific American has a Guest Blog
News written by university experts:
Become an author @
A new database of scientists online, searchable
by research interests and field of study.
• Among the commonly used social
media, the 140-character microblogging
service Twitter has been popular.
Followers of scientists on Twitter
Emily Darling. figshare.
A virtual department to
spark and share new ideas
• You have 140 characters
– use them wisely but accurately
• Use URL shorteners:
• Add a Hashtag (#)
– This marks it as a keyword within the Tweet and turns it into
a link. Once clicked, it will bring up a list of other Tweets that
include the same keyword.
“A majority of established bloggers (72%
of 126 blogs surveyed) use Twitter as a
complementary outlet for disseminating
new blog posts to followers.”
Shema H, Bar-Ilan J, Thelwall M (2012) Research blogs and
the discussion of scholarly information. PLoS ONE 7: e35869
Other Online Tools
• Blogs – continuous, long-form science
• Facebook – networking
• Digg, Reddit – content aggregation
• Twitter – in the moment conversation,
customized news streams, building and
• You CAN maintain scientific accuracy and
rigor in your blog posts and social media
– Link to original research studies
– Remember proper attribution to pictures,
statistics, quotes, etc.
– Learn to be concise but avoid buzzwords that
can be misleading (“cure” “breakthrough”)
But what if…
• My Big idea will be stolen?
– You don’t have to share unpublished
– But don’t you do this at conferences? What
is the difference?
– There is more potential for help than
harm… & they would probably pursue it
differently than you anyway.
But what if…
• I don’t have enough time?
– It’s OK to not always keep up to date; take
“vacations” from social media
– Only post when you are motivated to do so
– Post what you are passionate about
– Make it a daily routine
– Post as a lab GROUP
Thank you for listening!
Check out this library of social media
outlets for scientists:
• It’s Time for Scientists to Tweet: http://theconversation.com/its-
• Social Networking for Scientists: The Wiki
• How to Build an Enduring Online Research Presence Using
Social Networking and Open Science, SlideShare, Titus Brown
• Darling et al. (2013).The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a
scientific publication. https://peerj.com/preprints/16v1/
• Bik, H. M., & Goldstein, M. C. (2013). An Introduction to Social
Media for Scientists. PLoS biology, 11(4), e1001535.
• Images: Flickr by Jason A. Howie; Wikipedia; Screenshots