Yesterday, I posted piece about the trials and tribulations of using Twitter for science communication and a few tips and tricks for how to best utilize the platform. Today, I want to show you a few examples of some great use of Twitter and talk about a few of my favorite accounts to follow.
There are plenty of lists out there to help you find you narrow down your science search, like Science Magazine’s Top 50 Science Stars, Mashable’s 25 Science Accounts to Make You Smarter and BuzzFeed’s 25 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Science Nerds. Most of my favorite accounts are mentioned in these, but there are a few more up and coming accounts that I really enjoy.
One of my best science communicators active on Twitter right now David Shiffman, a PhD student at the University of Miami researching shark biology and conservation, as well as how information related to ocean science and conservation spreads through social media. He’s a Twitter star among not just shark fanatics, but social media fans as well. He’s got tons of academic publications in both areas.
What David does best, is use Twitter to engage with people. He often holds Q&As, debunks marine life in the news and comments on current events.
Remember leftshark? If you aren’t familiar with it, leftshark (probably better known as (#leftshark) took the world by storm (Sharknado?) during Katy Perry’s 2015 Super Bowl half time performance when his choreography seemed a bit off from his counterpart, rightshark.
David was like most of us, live tweeting the Super Bowl when the shark appeared, and then internet went wild. David, who’s Twitter handle is seriously @WhySharksMatter, quickly took to using #leftshark and joking with other followers. He didn’t force is science on people, but instead let them ask him questions about sharks. The event peaked their interest and he was there to share in the fun.
Other Twitter users a great at doing this too. You’ve probably heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s widely regarded as the most popular science communicator alive. Sure he’s got his talk show, a book, his lecture tour AND a primetime TV series, but he’s also got one of the most followed Twitter accounts ever.
Neil is no stranger to playing off of current events. In fact, that’s the majority of his account. Perhaps one of the best mashups of pop culture and science came during the 2014 World Series when Neil decided to tweet his knowledge of the sport.
Check out the number of retweets and favorites! It’s pretty impressive to see the type of engagement and Astrophysicist can produce during a baseball game.
I encourage you to check out David, Neil and the countless number of other science social media accounts out there and find what sparks your curiosity? What makes you want to click and engage, and how can we do more of that?