Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. Social media is forming an increasingly central part of how we all communicate. Its online communities carry a strong and influential voice, and there is much to be gained from engaging directly with people through these channels – whether that be to reach journal readers, to network with colleagues, or even just to keep up to date with friends and family.
In the age of the internet, social media tools offer a powerful way for scientists to boost their professional profile and act as a public voice for science. Although the type of online conversations and shared content can vary widely, scientists are increasingly using social media as a way to share journal articles, advertise their thoughts and scientific opinions, post updates from conferences and meetings, and circulate information about professional opportunities and upcoming events. Google searches now represent the standard approach for discovering.
When scientists communicate more effectively, science thrives. Science is increasingly interdisciplinary and the ability to communicate more effectively across disciplines fosters collaboration and innovation. Being able to communicate the relevance and impact of their ideas and discoveries can enhance scientists’ ability to secure funding or find a project. It allows them to write better and more comprehensible research papers. It also allows them to be better teachers and mentors for next-generation scientists.
Although having more scientists who are effective communicators benefits science and society greatly, there are still relatively few training opportunities for science students and professionals to develop these skills. Fortunately, effective communication skills are no longer perceived as soft skills. Increasingly, they are becoming part of the core professional skills every science student and professional should have.
Social media has become an essential part of one’s professional life. It is now almost mandatory for authors, journalists, politicians, and other intellectuals to share their ideas. Social media has also introduced the common man into the media scene. His voice can now be heard in political, economic, and social discourses.
A significant contemporary discussion in the field of science communication is how scientists are using (or might use) social media to communicate their research. This includes the role of social media in facilitating the exchange of knowledge internally within and among scientific communities, as well as externally for outreach to engage the public.
To bring quality science to broader audiences, scientists and engineers should communicate directly with the public. And they should work together with journalists to create content and attract readers.
With best wishes
Dr. Ashok Kumar Gadiya
(Chief Editor, Technical Today)