6 June 2017

So…you wanna host a Twitter takeover?

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Shane M Hanlon

My avatar for my previous @iamscicomm takeover. Check out the Storify here.

Recently, a new word has entered my lexicon: rocur. I’ve actually had discussions with colleagues responsible for copy editing and marketing about using this word, mainly along the lines of, “that’s not a word.” This has made me realize I’ve migrated from one bubble of scientific research in conservation biology to another that’s focused on communication, policy, and social media.

Our avatar for our @iamscicomm takeover this week!

So what does “rocur” mean? Well, it’s shorthand for “rotating curator”, and it mainly applies to Twitter. Recently, especially in the science community, accounts have popped up that feature different curators every week who chat about their experiences and provide advice in their field(s) of interest. Of note are @biotweeps, @geoscitweeps, @astrotweeps, @iamsciart, @iamcitsci, and @iamscicomm, just to name a few. An we at Sharing Science have started a semi-regular series where folks take over our account to chat all things #scicomm on our @AGU_SciComm account

Are you interested in participating in a rocur account? Worried about where to start? Here are some tips based on my experiences:

  1. Have a plan: Taking over a Twitter account is very much a choose-your-own-adventure endeavor. However, no matter how much or how little you intend on tweeting and engaging with followers, it’s always best to have a basic outline of different topics you’d like to cover during your tenure.
  2. Schedule tweets: Following #1, there’s almost no way to always be at your computer or on your phone for (what’s usually) a whole week. Use something like Tweetdeck or Hootesuite to schedule tweets when you know you won’t be around. This way you’re still getting content out there to audiences who may not be signed on when you are.
  3. Be present: While scheduling tweets is a great way to ensure that there’s always content from the account, it’s best to also schedule some time to actively monitor the account and engage with followers. Ask questions, create polls, reply to tweets. Folks who follow rocur accounts are usually pretty engaged and want to interact with you and each other!
  4. Be yourself: When I’m thinking about what content I should put out for a takeover, I always worry about not being original. Sure, a lot has probably already been said concerning your area of expertise (this is especially the case in scicomm); however, you have unique viewpoints, even if those views are about old issues. Sharing personal experiences adds to the scientific dialogue and helps to humanize science.

These are just a few tips to get started. Hopefully I take my own advice this week as we at Sharing Science take over @iamscicomm! So check us out and if you’re interested in tweeting about scico mm for us, sign up to take over @AGU_SciComm for a day!

-Shane M Hanlon is a Senior Specialist in AGU’s Sharing Science program. Find him @ecologyofshane

Our @AGU_SciComm Twitter banner. Credit @JoAnnaScience