An increasing number of science communicators are embracing social media platforms to engage with the wider audience. The QUEST project has developed a set of recommendations that will help them improve their science communication activities on social networks.
The advent of social media has revolutionized the way in which information is produced and gets consumed. Social media enable news outlets to distribute news and connect with their audiences and, at the same time, amplify users’ ability to communicate and provide feedback. Science communication has not been exempted from such changes, with diverse actors embracing public communication online.
Last year, we performed a quantitative investigation of 498 Facebook pages and 661 Twitter accounts that aim at disseminating science. We collected more than 2M tweets and posts across seven countries and a variety of science communication sources, i.e., Festivals, Industries, Institutions, Magazines, Science Journalists, Experts, Scientists, and Universities.
We found specific patterns that can be associated with greater user engagement on social media. Moreover, thanks to workshops organised throughout Europe, we were able to derive important insights on what constitutes quality in science communication on social media.
The goal of this experimental phase was to test our recommendations for their possible refinement together with the help and support of communication practitioners. It was a great opportunity to work together to improve science communication on social media in a cooperative and enriching way. We were able to have fruitful (online) discussions on our tips and on the best ways to convey the complexity (and uncertainty) of science on social media platforms.
Last week, Ca’ Foscari held a final workshop with participants to the experiment from different countries. It was a unique opportunity to present our preliminary results and collect feedback and precious suggestions on how to improve our work. We truly believe in the added value of considering different experiences and points of view when developing an output such as our recommendations, which we wish to be actually implemented by communication practitioners and social media managers in their daily science communication activity.
Our recommendations for good practices of science communication on social media will be made publicly available in the next months. Stay in touch!