"Online social media tools can be some of the most rewarding and informative resources for scientists — IF you know how to use them."
To make a compelling case for using social media, here are some quotes from primary literature about scientists using social media:
"As scientists, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technological and social innovation. But when it comes to new media, we fall behind the average American. More than 70% of Internet-using Americans are on Facebook, yet less than two-thirds of professors and lab managers are. This online presence is especially important if we want to be involved with America’s youth. Almost 90% of our younger generation is on at least one kind of social media. Forty-eight percent of them find out about news through Facebook, and will check it first thing in the morning—some even before they get out of bed.
In one minute on the Internet, there are 100,000 new tweets, 80,000 new Facebook wall posts, 1,500 new blog posts, and 700,000 Google searches. The rate of growth of social media is astronomical. Facebook now touts over 800 million members and Google +, which only started last year, now reaches over 62 million people.
What makes social media so powerful is that it connects people, not just provides information. Many scientists still hold the unflappable belief that increasing science literacy is the answer: that our job is simply to provide the facts, and that people will make better decisions if they are given the correct information — despite the growing body of literature that this “deficit model” simply isn’t true."
Wilcox, C., 2012. Guest editorial: it’s time to e-volve: taking responsibility for science communication in a digital age.
"For those starting out, it is critical to first define what you want to achieve, and then set out to use the tools that are best targeted toward this goal (Figure below provides an overview flowchart to help initially define these goals) online tools are most effective when customized and used for a specific purpose (http://bit.ly/13J7AAS).
Do you want to disseminate information about a discrete event, such as a field expedition? Do you want to build a community of your scientific peers? Do you want to communicate your science to a nonscientist audience?
To save time and target the most efficient resources, it is important to think about the timeline of your goals and the time commitment you are willing or able to make. In addition, each social media portal offers unique features, which can complement each other when content is shared between sites."
Bik, H.M. and Goldstein, M.C., 2013. An introduction to social media for scientists. PLoS biology, 11(4), p.e1001535