Followed by the development of the web 2.0, social networks have played a significant role in scholarly communication (Widén-Wullf, 2011). During the 13th PCST Conference, which was held in Salvador, Brazil, networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the official blog of the event were important tools to generate engagement among participants, making the amount of retweets, mentions and online conversation be part of an unprecedented experience in the event.

In this paper, we want to reflect over social media as a tool for engagement in science communication by taking the experience at the PCST 2014 Conference as a study case. Statistics and metrics on the flow of messages throughout social media channels ranging days before and after the Conference tells us that the experience was well-succeeded: by May 8, PCST2014's Twitter account had around 200 followers and almost 500 interactions, more than 700 "likes" on its Facebook page and around 300 images with the #PCST2014 hashtag on Instagram. The event generated around 40 newspieces in Brazilian and international media and six blogs talked about the conference.

Qualitative analysis has shown that though participants are experts in science communication from different fields, the majority of comments were short descriptions about the talks, therefore good for people outside the event - criticism was less present. We believe that this successful experience can be replicated in other editions of the PCST Conference and has the potential to attract and engage a wider part of the science communication community.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The use of social media at the PCST2014 – a case study

Meghie Rodrigues  

If now it is "difficult for scientists to remember how they worked without the internet" (Rowland 1998), it is possible that in a few years' time, scientists and communicators will also find it difficult to remember how science was communicated to non-experts without the aid of online media.

Followed by the development of the web 2.0, social networks have played a significant role in scholarly communication (Widén-Wullf, 2011). During the 13th PCST Conference, which was held in Salvador, Brazil, networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the official blog of the event were important tools to generate engagement among participants, making the amount of retweets, mentions and online conversation be part of an unprecedented experience in the event.

In this paper, we want to reflect over social media as a tool for engagement in science communication by taking the experience at the PCST 2014 Conference as a study case. Statistics and metrics on the flow of messages throughout social media channels ranging days before and after the Conference tells us that the experience was well-succeeded: by May 8, PCST2014's Twitter account had around 200 followers and almost 500 interactions, more than 700 "likes" on its Facebook page and around 300 images with the #PCST2014 hashtag on Instagram. The event generated around 40 newspieces in Brazilian and international media and six blogs talked about the conference.

Qualitative analysis has shown that though participants are experts in science communication from different fields, the majority of comments were short descriptions about the talks, therefore good for people outside the event - criticism was less present. We believe that this successful experience can be replicated in other editions of the PCST Conference and has the potential to attract and engage a wider part of the science communication community.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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