The first time I heard of Twitter, I thought “why would anyone use this?” It seemed to have such limited utility – another passing internet fad that we would all grow tired of soon. Out of curiosity, I joined Twitter back in 2009 and it was clear at that point that gravitational physicists shared my first impressions. There were very few CQG authors signed up to the service and fewer who were visibly using it.
Over time, however, that picture changed and my mind with it. There is now a very active body of researchers using the service. Twitter is primarily about conversation among peers, but it has also become the place to share the latest news about the field as it breaks.
#GravitationalWaves detected from #BinaryBlackHole 100y after Einstein’s prediction. #EinsteinWasRight
— LIGO (@LIGO) February 11, 2016
Twitter at conferences
It isn’t a coincidence that I’m choosing today to recommend that you sign up to Twitter. Today is the first day of the GR21 meeting. (Right now, I am looking forward to the welcome reception starting at 5pm.) In recent years, I have found that the level of Twitter usage at gravitational physics conferences has grown very noticeably.
CQG is delighted to be a sponsor of the GR21 meeting, which is organised under the auspices of the International Society for General Relativity and Gravitation (ISGRG). The journal is also proud to sponsor of the ISGRG’s Bergmann-Wheeler Thesis Prize which will be presented at GR21.
Here’s a few tips to use Twitter to get the most out of a conference:
- Follow the conference hashtag (#GR21 in this case)
Others will post interesting news from around the conference using this hashtag, searching for it might show you something you’re missing. This would be an efficient way to keep up with events (even if you are not at the meeting). Remember to retweet the most interesting things you see.
- Sitting in a great talk? Share the speaker’s key messages or simply let Twitter know about the talk.
“Livingston never let Hanford forget that they saw the signal first” pic.twitter.com/FIzaz0B7LS
— Adam Day (@PublisherAD) April 17, 2016
Check out Gravity Spy #gravitationalwaves citizen science with @the_zooniverse https://t.co/XjkfKYbF9h pic.twitter.com/MlDbiTwOGn
— Adam Day (@PublisherAD) April 18, 2016
- Found a nice place for lunch, or a local delicacy? Tweet about it. Fellow delegates will be glad to have your recommendation.
Excellent beer in Salt Lake city #apsapril pic.twitter.com/CwlvsrxPeu
— Adam Day (@PublisherAD) April 19, 2016
I wouldn’t claim that Twitter is perfect. There are good and bad things about it and maybe it is just a passing fad – albeit one that is taking longer to pass than I might have guessed. Nevertheless, it is valuable and useful right now. If you are still on the fence about Twitter, just remember that it’s free to sign up and you can always cancel your membership if you decide it’s not for you.
If you are at #GR21, have a great meeting. I hope to see you there and on Twitter! You can find me under the Twitter handle @PublisherAD
Edit 15/02/2017: CQG now has its own Twitter account. Follow @CQGplus
The post is available under a CC BY 3.0 license
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