Science is becoming increasingly politicized and scientists need to better connect with the public. One route to public engagement is through social media. In particular, Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular among the public (Pew Research Center 2013). However, we lack empirical evidence about scientists‟ social media use habits and their perceptions of these communication technologies. Here, we examine scientists‟ use of social media for both general and science-related purposes. We find scholars who actively seek new ways to share their work tend to turn most often to Twitter. Our results indicate that scientists are more accepting of Twitter, relative to Facebook, as a medium for dissemination and discussion of science, both within and outside their fields. We anticipate that Twitter will continue to grow as a medium for scientific discourse and future scholarship should examine the impacts of such forms of communication on public policy and public attitudes toward science.

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Twitter as the social media of choice for sharing science

Sara Yeo   University of Wisconsin-Madison

Michael Cacciatore   University of Georgia

Dominique Brossard   University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dietram Scheufele   University of Wisconsin-Madison

Michael Xenos   University of Wisconsin-Madison

Science is becoming increasingly politicized and scientists need to better connect with the public. One route to public engagement is through social media. In particular, Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular among the public (Pew Research Center 2013). However, we lack empirical evidence about scientists‟ social media use habits and their perceptions of these communication technologies. Here, we examine scientists‟ use of social media for both general and science-related purposes. We find scholars who actively seek new ways to share their work tend to turn most often to Twitter. Our results indicate that scientists are more accepting of Twitter, relative to Facebook, as a medium for dissemination and discussion of science, both within and outside their fields. We anticipate that Twitter will continue to grow as a medium for scientific discourse and future scholarship should examine the impacts of such forms of communication on public policy and public attitudes toward science.

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