Twitter gives scientists a genuine voice an opportunity to engage share and explain

Dr Leigh Fletcher, from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has discussed the use of social media and blogging to promote his research to a wide audience in an article for The Royal Society

In the article, 'Scientific engagement in the age of social media', Dr Fletcher (pictured) said: "Like it or loath it, social media has radically altered the ways in which we communicate with others, receive and interact with news stories, and form opinions about the world around us. Today, eleven years after Twitter first exploded onto the scene, introducing tweets, hashtags and RTs into our vocabulary, we cannot even conceive of a news story not being disseminated instantaneously around our ever-shrinking planet. Like many young scientists, I had always used traditional methods of engaging with the public – visiting schools to run demos; giving lectures to public societies; writing articles for newspapers and websites, and so on. But suddenly blogging (and Twitter’s own micro-blogging in 140 characters) gave me a voice to immediately connect with that audience. Let’s be clear – there’s no substitute to face-to-face engagement, but these digital communications allow me to reach a far wider and more diverse audience than I could otherwise."

He added: "Twitter gives scientists a genuine voice – an opportunity to engage, share and explain – and in my experience, the public enjoys having this direct, virtual access to experts. It shows us to be human and fallible, but passionate and excited to have the opportunity to do this work. I can think of no better way to be an ambassador for science and technology."