An increasing number of academics are using twitter professionally. One popular usage is tweetcasting presentations at conferences. This can range from advertising your own or your peer's research to live commenting - essentially taking notes publicly on twitter.
For a recent example of tweetcasting from the ECMTB 2014 see the Storify by Dr Jacob Scott on his blog.
|A packed audience @ECMTB2014. Can you spot the tweetcasters?|
However, the high frequency of tweets from often multiple people simultaneously can dominate one's feed and drown it in duplicated tweets and re-tweets of content irrelevant to you. Worse, it can take statements out of context. Worse still, a picture of a slide of unpublished work can expose it to greater danger of being scooped.
Some best practices to consider are:
1 - make sure that your tweets could be of value to people not involved in the session/conference by including links to speakers websites, papers being presented or informational pages
2 - ensure you are using the same hashtag (keep it saved to your clipboard, or use an app) to increase speed and to enable aggregation with an app like storify
3 - try not to take quotes out of context
4 - if you are giving a talk, and DON'T want your info tweeted, just ask at the beginning of the session, or better yet, if you are chairing a session, ask all of the presenters and then announce at the beginning a policy for the session
What do you think? Is tweetcasting a useful form of science communication or should tweetcasters chirping away better spend their time offline? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
*WCMB members on twitter: Ruth Baker, Fergus Cooper, Alex Fletcher, Heather Harrington, Oliver MacLaren, Andrew Parker, Linus Schumacher, Jacob Scott, Thomas Woolley, Kit Yates