Author: Achintya Rao, CERN, Switzerland
Co-authors: Kate Kahle, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari, Aviv J. Sharon, Lauren Biron
Particle physics provides an especially challenging topic for science communication: It is abstract, esoteric and dependent on massive and publicly-funded machines, yet it can be uniquely awe-inspiring.
Physicists and physics institutes are increasingly being called upon to engage with the public through social media. However, little is known about the ways in which lay audiences interact with physics content on these media. Open questions include: What do social media users want to know about particle physics? How does social media shape public engagement with physics? This paper explains how an in-depth analysis of CERN social media grew from CERN’s communication strategy. It examines the characteristics of scientific items on social media that attracted high engagement and draws conclusions for shaping future content.