social media tips for scientists

PLOS Biology just posted an interesting article entitled “An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists” by Holly M. Bik and Miriam C. Goldstein [Link]. The authors wrote a whole paper encouraging academics to use social media (a terrific idea!). They write:

In academia, there is often a particular stigma attached to online activities. Actively maintaining an online profile and participating in social media discussions can be seen as a waste of time and a distraction from research and teaching duties. We believe this perception is misguided and based on incorrect interpretations of what scientists are actually doing online. When used in a targeted and streamlined manner, social media tools can complement and enhance a researcher’s career.

I agree with their list of benefits from a social media presence that include:

  • Online tools improve research efficiency.  This isn’t a huge benefit for me, but twitter has been helpful when I need software recommendations and it has kept me abreast of interesting research in my area. “Twitter has helped busy academics keep up with new research developments, prepare teaching materials, and offer guidance for graduate students.”
  • Online visibility = more paper citations (Note to self: I need to blog about my papers!)
  • Social networking enhances professional networking.
  • Improved communication with the general public about scientific matters.

I liked the flow chart for matching scientists with social networking tools, especially with the goals of Curation, Community, and Creation.

Flowchart showing a decision tree for scientists who are interested in communicating online.

Flowchart showing a decision tree for scientists who are interested in communicating online.

I also enjoyed this article from the Guardian about science diplomacy [Link].

HT Jeffrey Herrmann.

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