Should scientists be using Twitter (and other social media sites). It’s an open question really, but check out Laura Bonetta’s article on the subject in the current issue of the journal Cell.
This is what she had to say about me and some of my responses to her questions:
With more than 5000 [now almost 30k, Ed.] followers at @sciencebase is one of the most popular Twitter feeds in science. “I am small fry though compared to some of the much more successful Twitter users in other niches and I don’t just mean celebrities,” says sciencebase author David Bradley, a chemist by training and freelance science writer based in Cambridge, UK. (In comparison, Richard Dawkins has almost 25,000 followers on his Twitter feed; the actor Ashton Kutcher has 3.8 million.)
Part of the problem with social media is its reputation for being a social venue for friends to tell each other about their daily activities. “There would be little point in scientists joining simply to tweet about their coffee breaks, walking holidays, or showering schedule,” says Bradley. “However, if they wish to share their successes and failures in the lab, swap useful information and tips, or seek advice, then Twitter could be a useful way to do that.”