Tuesday 4th Feb, 11:00 am
Can social media play a role in maintaining and even increasing engagement with science, especially access to hard science, the kind of basic research carried out in laboratories? Taking a cue from successful, nation-based rotational curation accounts on Twitter, we created a rotational curation account for scientists, science communicators, writers and clinicians to tweet their work live. The aim of this account was to create a space for engagement in the real-time world of Twitter: to allow direct access to scientists, assist scientists in communicating their work to stakeholders and to display the breadth of careers available to science graduates.
After six months with over 26 scientists and communicators from five countries, the account has garnered over 5000 followers, has successfully translated live twitter engagement to engagement with primary schools, with media including regular interviews on radio and engagement with journalists, networking between scientists themselves and recruitment to other science communication platforms. We examine how the platform successfully increases engagement and reduces perceived inaccessibility of hard science through direct contact between the scientist and the lay public, and how the account functions as a resource for teachers, journalists and communicators. We consider how the project can be expanded and used to increase direct access to actual research performed by scientists.