2012 AFS Osborne-Gowey Twitter For Scientists


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Twitter for scientists - the ins and outs, whys and how. With some tips and useful links. Additional information and useful links at the end of the talk. Talk given by Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey during a special Science Communication session of the 2012 American Fisheries Society annual meeting, St. Paul, MN, August 19-23. http://afs2012.org/

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  • I’ve tailored this talk for those new to Twitter so for those already entrenched in social media, it may be a little elementary. But I’ve also included a number of nuggets I think you’ll find interesting. This morning I’ll basically take you through the what, the why and the how with links to additional resources that will help you along your Twitter journey.But first, the what…
  • If you’ve ever wondered what it is, you’re not alone. At one point, “What is Twitter” was the most asked question on internet searches.In Twitter’s own words, “Twitter is a service…to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” That’s an ample-enough description. But it really boils down to one word – communication.
  • At it’s heart, Twitter is a platform for public conversation at unprecedented scale and immediacybased on the 140 character text message (SMS) system.Although there are many social network channels, Twitter is one of the primary ones.I’ve heard it described as the best thing since sliced bread…but also the end of our social fabric…or perhaps the end of the world as we know it!
  • OK, so that’s the “what is it?” And now I’m going to - using approaches from several different angles - lay out some arguments why you, as a scientist, should be actively participating in the Twitter conversations.First, the saturation angle: at last check, there are well over 175 million tweets (140 character messages) from countries around the globe posted to Twitter every single day. THAT’s an incredible number of conversations going on – conversations about every conceivable topic, including topics you may care about like science, conservation, science policy, environment, natural resources, green living, energy use, etc.) – conversations in multiple communities and on topics on which you may be an expert and can contribute in a meaningful way – but those conversations are currently going on without you. – Gets back to the old adage “The devil you don’t know…”So what is it that people are tweeting and retweeting – in other words, having these conversations – about? It’s pretty basic, really – and it comes down to two basic things; things that interest them and personal connections.Especially in this age of science denial and increased belt-tightening, I’m really interested in helping more people make personal connections to all the fascinating science out there!
  • So now the news communication paradigm angle…According to a Pew Research study from last year, the internet has now passed newspapers for where most people get their news and there’s been a steady decline over the last decade in TV as a news source (when will the internet pass TV?).
  • In fact, over 50% of people now get breaking news from social media channels rather than official news channels (and news channels are utilizing it) and, although Facebook still corners the market with a majority of people getting their news from it, something around 20% of news is coming from Twitter (and that’s growing rapidly).
  • Perhaps one of most novel reasons scientists should be on Twitter is crowd-sourcing.Because people exchange so much information from their mobile devices, and most mobile devices utilize built-in geo-locational services, Twitter (and other social media channels) have become incredibly rich sources of science data.For example, there are now projects where the primary purpose is to locate - using mobile technology and social media - invasive species, locations of large charismatic megafauna, extreme weather events, and more!
  • And who couldn’t use a little extra project cash, right? If you haven’t yet checked it out, you should go take a look at the #SciFund challenge. It’s a novel way in which people are harnessing social media to fund science projects. And while it’s really still in its infancy and primarily funds startup projects at the moment (seed money, if you will), it’s really gaining traction in the last few months with over $100,000 alone raised in May of this year. I really encourage you to go check it out…cool stuff going on there…www.scifundchallenge.org
  • One of my favorite examples of how scientists are using Twitter is the work Dr. Mary Fuka of EnPhysics LLC – you can find her on Twitter at @MZFuka, by the way – is doing with armadillos. She’s using the open-source R stats program to mine geo-located tweets about armadillos and comparing their known range with their range as expressed via geo-located tweets – their virtual (actual?) range, if you will. Now there’s a lot of parsing and filtering and crunching that goes on behind the scenes that she’s programming into the tool, but the wonderful thing about her work is that she’s essentially able to get updated range maps for the species. You can imagine the implications and usefulness a tool like this could have when it comes to overlaying differing climate envelopes and predicting, then verifying changes in species ranges with a changing climate or species invasions – in our case the infamous “bucket brigades”.
  • My final argument for why you, as a scientist, should be using Twitter is a bit more academic in nature but really is broadly applicable to academics and non-academics, alike.Late last year, Gunther Eysenbach published a very informative – if a bit maligned – paper in the open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research that generated a substantial amount of buzz. If you haven’t yet read it, I’ve provided a link to it in this presentation and I’d encourage you to do so. Very informative, if a bit academic in tone.
  • Regardless, essentially what Eysenbach found was that papers that were tweeted about were cited earlier and more often than papers that weren’t tweeted about, leading him to conclude that various social impact metrics have a direct link to research impact metrics.While the paper was somewhat maligned and there was a relatively minor correction to it, what was interesting about it was that it generated an incredible amount of discussion in academic and social media circles.
  • One blogger summed it up pretty well, I think when they saidWhether or not you agree with the validity of Eysenbach’s study, the fact that it has been published and discussed so widely is surely a testament to the increasing importance of social metrics in evaluating article impact.”Now I had several slides speaking to various social impact metrics but I decided to put them at the end of my presentation and won’t talk about them today. But if you’re curious about them, I’d encourage you to download my talk from SlideShare and check out metric slides that come after the end of the presentation.
  • OK, so now let’s move into the how – not the mechanics of it but really best practices – more of the what/when to tweet And let me give you a little hint, here, while social culture is important, tweeting about what you had for breakfast may not be that important. Then again, if you’re adding value with a review or your message is food tweets, it might be. I guess it really all just depends.
  • Dan Zarrella, a prominent guru on all things internet, put together a graphic of what stories (tweets) people tend to pass along to others (called retweeting) and the top two were news and instructional tweets. Last on the list? Small talk. If you want to improve the chances of your tweets (conversations) having an impact, make them relevant.
  • It can be news you find interesting, perhaps information about a project you’re working on, information you found particularly useful (and why), reports, publications, articles, blog posts or about your research or the research of others, and – here’s an interesting oneYour opinions on things (exercise restraint and judiciousness). Seriously. People want to hear your opinions on science-related matters. And you are an expert in your field.There are a myriad of other topics that are well-suited for science tweeting but what it basically comes down to is if it is something you’d typically discuss in conversations with others, it’s probably well-suited for a tweet.
  • There’s some excellent research out there measuring various social impact metrics, and some good tools to help you evaluate when you tweet and how well your tweets are reaching your intended audience/s, but the long and the short of it is this, tweets stand the best chance of being amplified if posted in the afternoons and later in the week.
  • OK, so now I’m going to run through some very basic Twitter tips but have included additional slides after my concluding slide with more details on how to use Twitter, including additional Twitter tips and tricks, metrics, and insights. To get your backstage pass, all you have to do is go to SlideShare.net/JeremiahOsGo and download my presentation. I’ve included a number of additional slides that will help you on your journey.First, it’s impo
  • There are a number of ways in which you can find communities on Twitter with which you may share common interests or that you might want to engage with. The simplest is just to use the Twitter search bar from the main Twitter page – simply enter a keyword to search for. And then add them to your own Twitter list – I’ll touch on that in a minute.A second is to find Twitter lists that others have created – just Google search for “Twitter list [keyword]” and you’ll be surprised how much work is already done for you.Another option is to search for keywords on the Twibes.com website where you’ll be able to see “groups” of twitter users, much like an email listserv – that share a common interest/s. Here’s a list “scientwists” that science journalist David Bradley put together.A brief sidenote here: you find there’s new terminology – not much of it – that you’ll get used to. I’ll touch on that key ones here shortly but people have taken to adding “tw” from Twitter to words. So it’s not a lisp, although it sounds like it. You’ll get used to it. Long live diversity!
  • Or another Twibes list – this one for science skeptics – if that’s your schtick! I hear some chuckles but hey, you’ve got to know what the different camps are talking about and find important in order to be able to communicate effectively with them, right? Yeah, I can’t help but chuckle, too.
  • 2012 AFS Osborne-Gowey Twitter For Scientists

    1. 1. For Scientists The changing face of science communication Twitter: @JeremiahOsGoFeather River Consulting / OSU Email: jeremiahosbornegowey@gmail.com
    2. 2. Late to the party?• Platform for public conversation• 140 character messages• Social network channel• Best thing since…• End of…
    3. 3. Why use it?• Conversation• Community
    4. 4. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1844/poll-main-source-national-international-news-internet-television-newspapers
    5. 5. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1844/poll-main-source-national-international-news-internet-television-newspapers http://www.schools.com/visuals/social-media-news.html
    6. 6. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News• Crowd-sourcing
    7. 7. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News• Crowd-sourcing http://scifundchallenge.org/
    8. 8. Dr. Mary Z. Fuka • EnPhysica LLC • @MzPhyz • MZFuka@EnPhysica.Com Projected Range 2009-2010 RangeSee Tweet Map & Compare
    9. 9. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News• Crowd-sourcing• Amplification
    10. 10. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News• Crowd-sourcing• Amplification
    11. 11. Why use it?• Conversation• Community• News• Crowd-sourcing• Amplification http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj-journals-development-blog/2012/01/06/twimpact-factors-can-tweets-really-predict-citations/
    12. 12. What to tweet?
    13. 13. What to tweet?
    14. 14. What to tweet?• Relevant news• Info (links)• Research and the caveats• Opinions (seriously)• Culture• Anything you typically discuss in conversation
    15. 15. When to tweet?
    16. 16. Tweet tips• Know your audience• Identify main messages/key themes• Find/follow users with similar interests• Create/utilize lists• Favorite tweets• Filter (using a third-party twitter app)• Active participation – ENGAGE!
    17. 17. Twitter: @JeremiahOsGoEmail: jeremiahosbornegowey@gmail.com www.SlideShare.net/JeremiahOsGo
    18. 18. Quick Tips• Profile (pic,bio,link)
    19. 19. Useful Links• Analyze – TweetCharts – Twitalyzer – TweetReach – TweetArchivist – TweetStats• Influence – Klout – PeerIndex
    20. 20. Additional links (from talk)• Live autotweet tools for PowerPoint talks – SAP2.0 Twitter-PPT tools
    21. 21. Twitter explained
    22. 22. Twitter how to: following
    23. 23. Twitter how to: followers
    24. 24. Twitter how to: favorites
    25. 25. Twitter how to: lists
    26. 26. Why use it?• Conversation• Community
    27. 27. Why use it?• Conversation• Community
    28. 28. Twitter: tweet locations
    29. 29. http://www.mapmyfollowers.com/
    30. 30. Twitter: live conference updates
    31. 31. Influence
    32. 32. Read full article here.
    33. 33. Influencehttp://www.peerindex.com
    34. 34. Twitter metrics: sentimentFrom Sentiment140.com.
    35. 35. Twitter metrics: reach
    36. 36. Twitter: metrics• Topics• Users• TweetSpectrum• StreamGraph
    37. 37. Twitter: StreamGraph
    38. 38. Wordle• Wordle – AmFisheriesSoc
    39. 39. Twitter uses – jobs!