Ad-hoc guide to tweeting as an org

This was triggered by a request on Twitter, on guides/guidelines for tweeting as an institution. I scrambled through my mental inventory and came up blank. Then I figured that hey, I’ve done that for 11+ years, I might actually have some recommendations…

So, points to think of, off my head: 

1) Sort accounts into lists that make sense (e.g. members/staff, non-members, org accounts, relevant news sources)

2) Set a policy for each list on likes and retweets

3) If there are several tweeters, put their username in the org account description and have each sign their replies, if any, with their name/username

4) Have a policy for how you treat tweets from outside accounts. I tend to retweet a lot of community stuff and community-relevant stuff. That kind of behavior leads to a rather errant-looking timeline…

… which might not be what you want, if you assume people are reading your account in timeline view (I don’t think many do this, but maybe you want to display recent tweets on your webpage or some such)

5) Ping community members if you tweet stuff you know to be relevant to them. But it has to be very relevant to merit a ping, and not done too often

6) Hashtags are your friends, as an org. Try to have one for each relevant thing you communicate regularly; and don’t be shy to pick up a tweet, put it in retweet mode and just add a (community relevant) hashtag for visibility

7) Set up a best practices doc, even if you are the lone tweeter. There is some value in making your thinking explicit on a page, it usually clarifies things and helps you stay consistent. Also, onboarding new same-account tweeters gets WAY easier if you start with some common ground established

This post was originally a Twitter thread in response to a question from Hannah/@story645:

Jag återpublicerar

Ett av syftena med den här ny(gamla) bloggen är att samla sådant jag har skrivit på andra ställen, som kanske inte kommer finnas för alltid.

Jag håller på att importera gamla bloggar och annat skrivet hit, och märka upp så att det syns var de kommer ifrån.

Vetenskapsnytt, -2019.
Matmolekyler, 2007-2017.
Gästblogg hos Tidningen Curie, sommaren 2014.

How a blog snowballed into my current career

I started blogging science after a couple of months into my PhD, because I needed an outlet for all the fantastic papers I found that were ”not relevant” (to my studies and project). I had been reading author blogs (LiveJournal!) mostly, seen the odd blogging scientist now and then for a few years and figured ’Hey, I can probably do that!’. As it was early days, I hadn’t quite yet succumbed to the academia == English norm, so I wrote in Swedish. Unbeknownst to me at the time, that was like 3rd or 4th blog *in total* in Swedish focused on science. After a few years, I had built up enough of a presence to be invited to talk and write in other venues, including a summer stint as a ’real science journalist’ over the summer at one of Sweden’s biggest newspapers, Dagens Nyheter. I picked up some interesting friends during bloggin, including a food writer, and we two decided to apply for a book grant (I thought it was risk-free, we would not get it, because the one thing I knew about grants is that you don’t get them). But we did, and I had to go to my professor and say, ’Hey, I got a grant and will need to work part time on my PhD thesis’. He accepted. At that time my blogging dvindled to almost nothing, and I turned to Twitter instead (’it is a very short format, it won’t take much time’. Hah.).

So I wrote a book in parallell with my thesis work for about a year, spent some much needed time on Twitter whenever I got up for air, and at the same time my second mentor started working in something big and global I vaguely knew was about neuroscience, so I didn’t se her that often (that was INCF). I skimmed their web page occasionally to see what she was doing, and one time I came across an old job ad of theirs for a scientific communications officer, degree preferred, and with knowledge of neuroscience. I had learned from my journalist friends and acquaintances that hired positions in scicomm did basically not exist, and always had hundreds applying. So I asked offhand when we met next time, ‘How on earth did you not get anyone, and do you need help with anything urgent’? Long story short, the next week I had a talk with the project PI and got offered the job. So I went to my poor professor, AGAIN, and said ‘I want another 20% off my thesis work, because I accidentally got this other job…. And he accepted AGAIN, so then I did 20% book/20% INCF comms/60% thesis for another year, during which the book got finished and printed, INCF newsletters came out regularly, and the thesis got written. Then I took the weekend off, and started full-time at INCF next Monday (while still doing the occasional talk, interview or blog post on the book).

I still have a sort of parallel ‘career’ as a scicomm person, though mainly I’ve written for free for causes I like (the blog that became the book, for instance), and I mainly do my scicomm via Twitter. I’ve been on the Advisory Board for Poulär Astronomi (Popular Astronomy) since my blogging days. Right now, I am one of the Swedish members of an EU project called RETHINK, about improving scicomm (its Swedish Node is run by Vetenskap& Allmänhet). I also run a network, founded with some friends and friends-of-friends, for research communication professionals called FORSKOM (it lives on LinkedIn, and is officially bilingual Swe/Eng).

Kalendern lucka 9 och 10 – bubbelkonst och färger

Kalenderns nionde lucka innehöll tre små färgflaskor med blått, rött och gult, och en koncentrerad såpbubblelösning. Vi blandade färgade bubbellösningar och blåste färgglada såpbubblor på papper med sugrör. Det krävde lite övning men funkade till slut för alla.


Nästa dags lucka skulle ha samma färger, pipetter och en liten palett. Från grundfärgerna kunde man sedan pipettera fram orange, grön, lila och brun. Fast till slut blev det mesta svart.

Kalendern lucka 8 – rymdpepparkakor

Vi hann ta fram lucka 8 också, och den innehöll bästa sortens experiment — bakning! En liten kartong full med rymd-tema-figurer, inklusive två sorters raket i 3D.


Och vi hade en passande liten pepparkaksdegsnutt i kylskåpet, så vi började bums. Vi insåg när vi gräddade att man behöver nog egentligen en deg som inte blåser upp sig så mycket. Det får vi fixa till nästa gång.

Kalendern lucka 7 – hydrofob sand

Vi hann till slut med att leka med den magiska sanden i lucka 7. ”Magin” ligger i att sanden är väldigt hydrofobisk, så mycket att den bildar smala korvar om man häller den i vatten.

Sedan försökte vi lyfta upp sanden med sked, och så fort den kom över ytan föll sandkorven isär i en till synes helt torr hög.

Sedan lyfte vi upp sanden, skedvis, till en bit aluminiumfolie. Där flöt den runt på en film av vatten, tills vi sög upp vattnet med hushållspapper och hällde sanden tillbaka i påsen.

De blanka fläckarna är små vattenpölar!

Community engagement working notes: monthly peer meeting

In 2017, I entered a AAAS Fellows program on Scientific Community Engagement, called “Community Engagement Fellowship Program” or in short, CEFP. The program has now moved to the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement.

Group photo of 20 smiling people in blue tshirts, all 2017 community engagement program fellows.
The CEFP 2017 Fellows, photo by permission of Lou Woodley. I’m in the middle row at the left.

This program was a turning point for me, personally and professionally. Many of us still keep in contact, and one of the things I regularly do is meeting virtually with another CEFP fellow, Stefanie Butland. She’s in Canada and I am in Sweden, so we meet virtually over audio (for the bandwidth to keep up with us). I really recommend you to do something similar, if you are lucky enough to find a compatible person.

We meet the same day each month, and usually check in the day before to confirm the time or adjust it if necessary, and we always end the talk by confirming the next meeting time.

We use these talks mainly to ask for advice on challenging issues – for a while Stef talked about the same hard issue for months and it worked out! – and for celebrating achievements and successes. Several of the issues work themselves out while we are discussing them.

It works because we are strict about keeping to 15 minutes each. Usually, we self-regulate around our own 13-minute marks. Despite the short time, we can get a lot done, because we trust each other and are honest. And we both have similar and different experiences, good and bad, from our community manager work, so there is almost never the need to explain a lot of detail.

Kalendern lucka 6 – växande sköldpadda

Sjätte experimentet var en ”törstig sköldpadda” som ska kunna suga i sig enorma mängder vatten. Vi har lagt den i en stor skål och bevakar den noga. Den var 8.5 cm lång och 12 cm runt magen när vi började.

Hur stor kan den bli? Det vet vi inte än.

Veklig storlek: 9 cm från armspets till armspets.
Liiite större blev den på ett knappt dygn.

Efter en dryg vecka var den ungefär dubbelt så stor åt alla håll.

Kalendern lucka 4 och 5 – blöt kemi

Lucka 4 var vatten, färgtabletter och olja, allt i en klassisk glasbägare. Det gick rätt långsamt för färgtabletterna att lösa upp sig, så barnen blev uttråkade och gick sin väg. Då la vi i en bit vanlig brustablett och fick äntligen se det färgade vattnet bubbla upp genom oljan och lägga sig överst.

Lucka 5 var en bikarbonat-och-ättikadriven raket. Vi lyckades dock inte få den att flyga iväg som tänkt – ättikavattnet löste inte upp bakpulvret snabbt nog att puffa iväg raketen. Vi var försiktiga och ”fyrade av” i badkaret. Vid köksbordet hade nog varit bättre.