By Ryan Hoefle
Many Twitter users visit the site to see what their favorite comedians, sports stars and other pop culture icons are griping about at any given time, but there is a small minority that utilizes the social networking platform to stay connected with the happenings in the scientific community. While these tweets may not stand out in your timeline, they provide readers a virtual wormhole into the complex world that is cutting-edge science.
There are a multitude of Twitter sources that do a good job of continued coverage of all things science, as well as make the effort to get that content to their readership. One of these sites is The New York Times Science page who make sure to populate their Twitter page with the articles that get published. Those who choose to follow @nytimesscience get a wire variety of scientific articles, like ones about liberal art students picking up computer science: A benefit to following this particular Twitter account is that they also tweet out articles from other news organizations that they deem worth their reader’s time, such as this piece from British newspaper, Th Guardian: This shows that The Times are dedicated to getting the information their readers deserve even if they did not produce it themselves. One thing I found interesting about the New York Times Science Twitter account was their ability to compose tweets that included a headline that grabbed the reader’s attention while providing the relevant article, as seen in this tweet: This not only as a good headline and one-line summary of the story, it sparks interest in the reader and takes them from the social media site to the actual story. Another popular Twitter handle is Wired Science, the section of Wired Magazine dedicated to all things science. Since they are a magazine they have a less rigid journalistic structure than its newspaper counterpart. For example, this tweet: They use more descriptive words that you would not necessarily see from a newspaper that set the tone for the entirety of the article to follow. They also are more open to photo galleries than the copy-heavy news sites. This keeps their audience interested by providing different ways to ingest the vast amount science being explored every day. The magazines also have the opportunity to write with a more casual style that allows for the tweet author to make the reader laugh with a well crafted 140 characters.
Another prominent voice in the scientific community happens to not be a publication, but an individual. His genuine demeanor and nice guy attitude has made this man one of the most beloved man in science. So much so, that he has become a popular internet meme. This, of course, is Neil deGrasse Tyson. What Tyson lacks in heightened language he makes up for in frank tweets that are dense with imagery and a super-nerd level love of science, as seen in this tweet:
Another reason why Tyson is so beloved by so many is because he takes the time to interact with his community of followers by answering questions they may have and directing them to some of his earlier work, like he did on March 9th:
While he is a scientist and not a journalist, he uses Twitter as a platform to share his personal opinion of things other than science, such as academia:
The last notable source of scientific news on Twitter is from Reuter’s Science News. Reuter’s is a trusted name in journalism, and it is surprise that their science page holds up compared to others. From tweets and articles that bring up the existencial questions in science:
All of these have the advantage of having the sheer amount of “cool” science has to offer. The challenge is translating these complicated ideas into layman’s terms where the Average Joe can somewhat understand the process behind some of the most important discoveries of our time, such as NASA’s future plans in space:
Twitter has only helped increase the visibility of the science sections of newspapers past to their own specialized sites that can provide their readers the sort of articles they want to read in between lab sessions.