Why scientists should be on twitter

2. November 2020
Dr. Ariane Nunes-Alves, member of the Molecular and Cellular Modeling (MCM) group at HITS

Twitter has been around since 2006 and currently has around 330 million active users (as of October 2020) making it one of the most popular social media platforms of our time. In comparison to other platforms, twitter is notable for its short and fast content distribution which enables its users to skim through a lot of content in a short amount of time. Over the years, it has become more and more attractive to scientists due to its interactive nature and a fast and cheap way to promote research. But there are other advantages as well, as HITS researcher and computational chemist Ariane Nunes-Alves has pointed out in her recent interview with the “Alumniportal Deutschland”. According to Ariane, a big motivation to join twitter as a researcher is to get in touch with other researchers – and also to find jobs. The platform enables researchers from all over the world to connect and interact with each other, which is is something even bigger live conferences cannot achieve in this way.

During 2020, a time when personal gatherings of researchers at conferences and workshops is simply not possible, twitter was also used to showcase poster sessions and research results that would have usually been presented in person. One example of this is the LatinXChem virtual conference co-organized by Ariane Nunes-Alves which was held in September exclusively on twitter. During the conference, the participating researchers used different hashtags to share their work and to be able to make their content accessible and searchable for everyone. Using twitter for the LatinXChem virtual conference enabled the community to not only share their work with each other, but also to make their contribution to the research world visible to a global audience. Further, this virtual, barrier-free conference format ensured that also people who usually could not travel to conferences were able to attend.

About HITS

HITS, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, was established in 2010 by physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural, mathematical, and computer sciences. Major research directions include complex simulations across scales, making sense of data, and enabling science via computational research. Application areas range from molecular biology to astrophysics. An essential characteristic of the Institute is interdisciplinarity, implemented in numerous cross-group and cross-disciplinary projects. The base funding of HITS is provided by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.

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