CORRESPONDENCE

Five principles for scientists on social media

To enable the information sharing, networking and serendipitous encounters that we would normally experience at physical conferences and seminars, many scientists are looking to improve their online engagement through social media. Based on my experiences, I offer five suggestions.

First, see and be seen: communication is two-way, so listen, too. Second, select and specialize: focus on those things that suit you; there’s only so much you can do. Third, serve: think about where you can add most value. Fourth, socialize: don’t forget about relationships just because they’re digital. Fifth, strategize: make social media part of your overall communication strategy, even if it’s just emerging.

I follow these principles by responding to posts I am tagged in. I tweet only on topics that I feel able to discuss. I stick to Facebook for more personal engagement, to Twitter for sharing interesting developments in research and practice, and to LinkedIn for the occasional announcement of new research and events. I use my accounts to showcase my own work, yes, but also to amplify others’ contributions and promote our collective domain.

Challenges regarding scientists’ engagement will remain post-pandemic (Nature 589, 155–157; 2021). Social media can help us to overcome these and find new routes to scholarly impact and visibility.

Nature 593, 37 (2021)

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