Skip to main content

Table 1 The do’s and don’ts of social media

From: The value and use of social media as communication tool in the plant sciences

Content Suggestions Potential pitfalls URLs
Short status updates Post informative, interesting or engaging updates, e.g. “I am presenting a poster at conference X, come and say hi!” Avoid boring or too personal updates (“I just had a sandwich”), gossip, personal attacks or excessive negative feelings. Be aware of the sensitive nature of posting about unpublished data, proposals, reviews, collaborators, students etc.
“Has anyone got experience with technique Y?”
Longer text Informative: current research, new papers, conference reports. Shorter texts (500–700) words are more likely to be read in full. Use images, hyperlinks or multimedia to make text more engaging. Avoid jargon.
Discussion: Opinion pieces, reflections,
Creative writing.
Photos Snapshots from live research, lab/field trips. Data that might not be published otherwise. Use tags or hashtags to contribute to existing image pools and make images accessible. Avoid using pictures protected under copyright or without appropriate creator attribution, photos of people without having their permission, images you might want to use in a publication.
Video Short clips taken with camera or smartphone. Make use of captions to provide additional information. Think about appropriate length (shorter might reach more people). Avoid using copyrighted music.
Interviews, techniques, lectures and talks.
Data that might not be published otherwise.
Creative videos (e.g. songs, cartoons).
Links Use link shorteners to save space and track clicks. Avoid posting links without any or with a vague description.
Audio Soundbites of field trips, events. Longer audio pieces, e.g. interviews, recordings of talks or podcasts. For longer pieces pay attention to microphone quality and acoustics of the surroundings.
Science songs.
Publications and CV items Invest time to create a professional online presence and keep it up to date. Before uploading full-text versions or pre-prints, carefully check publisher conditions.