Blog&Tweet turns – changing the culture of science communication

Blog&Tweet turns – changing the culture of science communication

Author: Kaisu Koivumäki – University of Oulu, Finland

Scholars of science communication have argued that scientific community lacks a culture of genuine science communication and public engagement. With widened scope on public relations research it has been suggested that scientists’ participation in science communication via social media should be valued, measured and manageable. This also requires a strategic management approach including strong commitment from the (research) director, the establishment of social media teams, the implementation of guidelines, ongoing training, integration of goals, and measurement.

This paper describes actions put into practice with researchers in a multidisciplinary and interorganisational research project, organized in five research teams, and the researchers’ perceptions on new practice.

The research teams are given monthly Blog&Tweet-turns. On their turn, following a joint schedule, a team has to deliver blogs and tweets about their research integrated with the projects and funders overall communication goals. When the turn is about to change, the measurement i.e. impact numbers (viewers of blogs, reactions on tweets) are shared and praised. The teams are trained by communication professionals with ongoing support. This includes informal discussions that ease the adoption of new roles as researchers engage in science communication online. The PI of the research project shows example and writes science blogs regularly.

According to preliminary findings on semi-structured interviews of 13 communication professionals and 17 researchers, collected in summer 2017, easy access for support and contact with communication professionals is the most important supportive action. Researchers also appreciate the equality of attention for research teams and topics. The systems simplicity makes the participation manageable and division of labour reasonable which furthers commitment to the turn-taking. Clear majority of researchers plan to have contact with communication professionals in future.

It would be interesting to know how could online turn-taking be scaled up e.g. to a faculty’s communication agenda?

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Investigating science communication practices