This is a special post for Chains 2014, the biggest chemistry conference in the Netherlands. You can see the 2011 videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNBkSEYSPT4&list=PL1249D16AE757DEE0
There I will give a short workshop on “dare to communicate” hosted by Harm Ikink (@harmikink) focussing mainly of Twitter for chemists.
The main question is “why should I use twitter?”. I’m afraid there is no simple answer to this question. I’m using it mainly for fun, interaction, and outreach. It is like being in a conference with thousand of chemists easily reachable with a single 140 characters tweet. Each of them with different backgrounds, working in different fields and with different expertise, grouped all together because, at the end of the day, we are all chemists.
But let’s go with some order, and first things first, the history of Twitter:
Then, what is twitter and how to use it, a crash course by @MCeeP http://errantscience.com/blog/2014/10/22/what-is-twitter-a-crash-course/
Ok, now you have your fresh and shiny Twitter account, what’s next? Start following some chemists of course:
20 Chemists worth following on Twitter (C&N): http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i39/20-Chemists-Worth-Following-Twitter.html
100 Chemists on Twitter (a list from @stuartcantrill ): http://stuartcantrill.com/2014/09/22/100-chemists-on-twitter/ (the same guy that brought to life this memorable Nature Chemistry Twitter editorial: http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n4/full/nchem.1608.html)
Done with the followers? Now we can start with the hashtags then. I prefer using a program for twitter rather then the web interface. With program such as TweetDeck you can easily follow hashtags in separate columns, and this will simplify your life.
The one that should be always on your Twitter client is, without any doubt, #Realtimechem (http://doctorgalacticandthelabcoatcowboy.com/realtimechem-faq/). #Realtimechem is an awesome resource for connecting chemists on twitter.
10 Twitter hashtags for scientists: http://sylvaindeville.net/2014/10/24/top-10-twitter-hashtags-for-scientists/
The hashtag of the conference you are going to (in this case #Chains2014).
The news hashtag, for example #ChemNobel a couple of weeks before the nobel announcement.
And whatever other hashtag you may find interesting :)
What should you write? That’s up to you, something nice happening in the lab, nice pictures, weird results, commenting some paper and so on. Please, please and please do not use twitter as news feed, writing only about your new paper, your new grant, new students and so on is not really useful for interaction and we already use a RSS feed for that. Unfortunately many chemistry journals and university are doing it, this is simply useless.
And always follow the rule number 1 of using social media, comments and general interaction of internet: don’t be a dick. Blaming on twitter a journal editor because he didn’t accepted your paper, or shaming your competitors is not very nice and possibly counter-productive:
Now go out there and have fun with Twitter. I’m @V_Saggiomo and I approve this message.
* The picture of this blogpost are coming from http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/jul/21/famous-science-history-twitter-humour