Hello there bloggies! Welcome to Science Sunday! This time though we are coming to you on Monday. Thank you all for bearing with me!

Fall is just around the corner. That means it is almost conference season. Scientists and researchers from across the globe come together to present their work and discuss the most important topics in their fields. Unfortunately, not everyone can make it to these conferences. Travel costs money, and many (especially us trainees!) are limited in the number of conferences they can attend. That means these scientists and trainees do not have the opportunity to be exposed to new science and to personally interact with scientists in their field

So, what are these scientists to do? Just sit back in ignorance?

Of course not!

Fortunately, others attending the meeting have the opportunity to share information to update the field and the public. Some take notes and report back to their colleagues at home. Others write blog posts and then share them with the world. The press are even active at the larger conferences, reporting on some of the more exciting aspects of the science presented. A lot of times the conferences themselves provide updates. It is a way to help members that couldn’t attend as well as advertise their events for the future. These are great information sources and can help scientists keep tabs on different fields without spending their whole lives traveling.

But, I want to talk about a relatively new information source: Twitter. Just like other news and current events, live-tweeting from scientific meetings are incredible resources for the latest and greatest happenings. However, just like anything new, Twitter can be a bit controversial. Here are some things to keep in mind if you decide to use Twitter while at a conference:

1) Know the conference’s policy: Not every conference has embraced the amazingness that is Twitter. Some allow for you to tweet anything you would like, while others do not allow information from presentations to be tweeted at all. A lot of conferences are currently in between, with opt-in and opt-out options for authors. Be aware of them! The last thing you want to do is annoy your scientific society or legend in your field because of a little tweet.

2) Use the hashtag: Conferences that are active on social media will typically have a hashtag associated with the meeting. Use it! It will help connect you with fellow tweeters at the meeting and help you find related information on the meeting. What a great way to network! And you don’t have to deal with any of the awkward small talk.

3) Share links if possible: It can be hard to express all of your thoughts in just 140 characters. It is even more difficult to craft a tweet filled with information and maybe a little humor within those limits. Link to other information on the web that can help supplement your message. A paper, blog post, or even one of the conference’s pages can be great options.

4) Be fair and responsible: We are all guilty of having an emotional or strong response to a presentation. We are all also guilty of misunderstanding certain phrases/conclusions of one. If you are putting information out that, take a moment to reflect on what you are saying. Be fair to the authors’ actual statements and responsible with what you put out there. You can be judged for putting out crazy or faulty tweets!

5) Don’t be a jerk: I think this goes without saying. Don’t be a science troll on social media. Twitter is public, and things online stay there forever. Don’t burn bridges because of a silly tweet.

Twitter is a great way to disseminate and to get information, particularly at scientific conferences. If you don’t have twitter, go sign up and follow your conferences’ hashtags! Happy tweeting!

Thanks for stopping by this delayed Science Sunday! Do you live-tweet conferences? Or share scientific information on Twitter? How do you do it? Let me know below or on Twitter @DrFsThoughts.

See you on Trainee Tuesday!

-Dr. F

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