One of the most consistent pieces of advice I have for people in academia at all levels is to check out all the great content and conversations happening on #ScienceTwitter. Over the years Rachel and I have used Twitter to meet other scientists, find job postings and other opportunities, share our STS blog posts, and enjoy many, many videos of kitties, babies, and puppies.
Starting out is pretty straight forward: create an account, choose a handle, set up your bio. What comes next can be a bit more intimidating. We’ve assembled some of our favorite tips and tricks for getting started and included some examples in the form of actual tweets! Keep an eye out for some useful twitter vocabulary sprinkled throughout this post.
TIP: Introduce yourself. Whether you have yet to tweet or you’ve been around for years and have some recent follows, it’s important to let people know who you are and what you’re about.
Last week was a garbage fire, with the news and all. As a result, I’m (Rachel) going to give myself a pass on this post being many days late. We hope these links give you a good distraction and help you welcome in October and the changing seasons.
This is a very thoughtful piece about how teaching students the common underlying point of statistical tests might help them learn more, as opposed to parading as many tests as possible out over the course of the term.
Want to check out a fascinating and strangely beautiful #DataViz of how random the success of an individual published work can be? Click right here. I found this weirdly mesmerizing.
Many of you probably saw the recent article from Scientific American. It’s another in a long line of opinion pieces talking about how scientific communicators are probably doing it wrong in one way or another. We will get to my own hot take in a bit, but this article bothered me in particular because it’s thesis statement was, “…are we leading audiences to rely less on data than emotion?” I agree with the author that unscrupulous emotional appeals aren’t the best way to gain the public trust, but the Op-Ed left me with the impression that data driven argumentation is the one good way to do science communication. That’s a premise I do not support.
I think the real problem is many folks giving advice to scientific communicators have a real misunderstanding about what persuasive communication actually is. If we are seeking to persuade audiences, and as scientific communicators our basic goal should at least be to persuade folks that our work is interesting and worthwhile, we need to understand how persuasion works from a communications perspective.
What I’m not saying in this essay is that using data to drive your scientific communication is wrong. I think data driven communication efforts can be effective and compelling! I am saying persuasive communication is a flexible tool and we, as a scientific community, are doing ourselves a disservice if we don’t understand all the different ways we can use it.
Like in so many instances, we ignore the wisdom of the Social Sciences at our own peril.
Buckle up buttercup. Get ready for Persuasion 101 in 500 words**.