The Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) ran a Twitter Symposium on Thursday, October 18, 2018, in the run-up to the Ramsar COP. Twitter conferences/symposia are becoming increasingly popular as a cost-free and low-carbon footprint alternative for researchers, policy makers, stakeholders and interested members of the general public to converse about research and share ideas. The SWS Twitter Symposium was a rewarding and fun way to share research and meet other wetland scientists from the comfort of your own desk.
The 2018 symposium was comprised of three sessions organized around the broad themes listed below. Presentations were encouraged to fit within one of these themes, but could be on any scientific topic - biology (anything from amphibians to zooplankton), the physical environment, social sciences, fieldwork methods, etc. Each session was kicked off by a keynote Tweeter.
- Wetland Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
- Threats and Drivers of Change in Wetlands
- Wetland Restoration and Management
- Introduction: https://t.co/oCXcxQCP9g
- Session 1: https://t.co/N9E1FKvmHZ
- Session 2: https://t.co/I3XppqnYql
- Session 3: https://t.co/rFDSujLHJo
Follow @SWS_org on Twitter!
The schedule for #SWSTwitterSymp2018 is available to download. Any amendments to the schedule will be tweeted at the start of the Symposium, if not sooner.
- Presenters must be members of the Society of Wetland Scientists. See https://sws.org/Membership/join-today.html for more information, including discounted rates for students and gratis membership awards for developing countries. Non-members can spectate and interact with presenters, but cannot present.
- You should have your own Twitter account/handle. In exceptional circumstances, and by prior agreement, we may be able to tweet your presentation from a third party account.
- Your presentation can be a maximum of 5 tweets (each tweet is a maximum of 280 characters) which should be tweeted within your allocated 15 minute time slot.
- Every tweet should be numbered and start with the hashtag #SWSTwitterSymp2018 (e.g., 1/5 #SWSTwitterSymp2018, then 2/5 #SWSTwitterSymp2018, etc.).
- Your tweets should follow the logic of a conference/symposium presentation (intro, methods, results, summary).
- Links to extra text describing your research are not allowed (although you can link to a paper/report on which the presentation is based).
- Pictures, graphs and videos are highly encouraged.
- Create tweets that will be accessible to a broad audience. We anticipate most followers of the symposium will be wetland scientists and practitioners, but the general public can also spectate and interact. Avoid jargon and acronyms where possible, or explain them if unavoidable.
- You will be allocated a 15 minute time slot based on your geographic location, so be sure to give us the correct time zone information during registration. Even if you choose to schedule your tweets, plan to be online during your time slot to answer questions and respond to comments.
- Draft your tweets ahead of time to avoid issues during the event. You can check the character count on Microsoft Word or Google Docs, each tweet cannot exceed 280 characters. A website link will be automatically factored as 23 characters, regardless of the length of your URL. Photos and videos do not count against your 280 character limit.
- Tweets cannot be edited once they are posted, so double check for spelling mistakes before posting.
- It would be helpful to ‘thread’ your tweets i.e. sending tweet 2/5 as a reply to tweet 1/5, and sending tweet 3/5 as a reply to tweet 2/5 etc.
- We recommend spreading out your 5 tweets across the first 3-5 minutes of your 15 minute time slot so that you have time answer questions during the rest of your slot. However, you are not limited to responding to questions and comments just in your time slot - in fact we encourage you to participate in discussion throughout the SWS Twitter symposium.
- When interacting with others during the SWS Twitter symposium, respond directly to tweets using the “Reply” option so you create a thread of the conversation and others can follow the conversation.
- Use the hashtag #SWSTwitterSymp2018 so that others can find your tweets (presentations and/or questions/replies) and know they are related to the SWS Twitter symposium. Example: "@ngltaylor #SWSTwitterSymp2018 Great presentation! Can you tell me a bit more about how you measured biomass?"
- Make sure your account is public so that others can see and interact with your tweets.
- The 2018 SWS Twitter symposium is an inclusive event. Aggressive, offensive, discriminatory or abusive language will not be tolerated. Violators of this rule will be reported to Twitter and will not be able to present in future SWS Twitter symposiums.
- Disclaimer: The views and information shared via this Twitter symposium are those of the participants and not those of the Society of Wetland Scientists.
Tips and Tricks
If your presentation relates to your published work, provide a link to the paper(s). Do not be afraid of shameless promotion: Show the world your product, because you worked hard to publish it! Tweets linking to papers will boost the paper’s Altmetric Score (see also here for info about how Altmetrics are calculated). You may want to include a figure from the paper, a snapshot of the abstract/title, or a photograph of your fieldsite to the tweet to capture people’s attention faster.
- You can use a website like TweetDeck or HootSuite to schedule your tweets. Tweetdeck is free and more intuitive, especially for new Twitter users. Note that you can use either program to schedule tweets; however also keep in mind that no program allows you to create a twitter thread in advance, you can only do so live in Twitter itself.
- Be creative with your media: use field pictures or infographics to explain your research - Pictures are worth a 1000 words, but no characters on Twitter! See example below from Wetlands International.
- Another option is to make a fun and informative video. These tweets from Carlos Guarnizo provide excellent examples of creative ways to use a video during a Twitter conference/symposium. If you do use video, make sure you follow Twitter’s guide for posting videos online, including the uploadable formats for videos and how to live record.
- Use a #hashtag to interact with a larger and sometimes more targeted audience. You must include #SWSTwitterSymp2018 in your tweets related to the SWS Twitter symposium, but you can add as many additional hashtags as you want. Twitter users can find out about your work and the symposium through browsing hashags. Popular hashtags that might be useful in the SWS Twitter symposium include:
In this example, the Wetlands Convention uses a variety of hashtags to target wetland-specific audiences:
- Engage with other symposium participants by asking questions, making comments and retweeting the comments of others. Before the symposium begins, take some time to look through the schedule and note the times of talks you are interested in, so you can reach out to the presenter during their presentation. And remember to use the #SWSTwitterSymp2018, so that others can join in your engaging conversation.
- You could start following some (or follow some more!) wetland Twitter accounts before the SWS Twitter symposium. They might even follow you back! You might start with these accounts, and discover even more by checking out who they follow.
You can participate in the symposium even if you are not presenting. Anyone can participate - You do not have to be an SWS member. To participate in #SWSTwitterSymp2018, just log on to Twitter on the day of the symposium (October 18, 2018) and search for the symposium hashtag #SWSTwitterSymp2018 to follow all of the presentations. We encourage you to engage with presenters and ask questions! Presenters will be available to answer questions for around 10 minutes after they’ve delivered their tweets, and we anticipate they will be happy to answer questions later, too.
Please remember to include the symposium hashtag #SWSTwitterSymp2018 in your questions!
What is a Twitter conference/symposium?
A Twitter conference/symposium is an event on social media, allowing presenters and audience members (in our case, wetland scientists and practitioners) to come together and share their work. It is meant to provide opportunities to present, learn and network, just like a face-to-face conference, but without the financial and environmental costs of travel (which can be prohibitive). You can present or participate from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
How do I participate?
You should set up a Twitter account at http://www.twitter.com. This is really easy.
If you wish to spectate only (watch presentations, ask questions) you can just log on to Twitter on the day of the symposium, search for the symposium hashtag #SWSTwitterSymp2018 and follow all of the presentations.
If you want to present, please register and submit an abstract here before the deadline (September 21, 2018 at midnight GMT). You should be available on the day of the symposium to present your tweets and respond to questions. We will try to give presenters slots that match their time zone. Ideally, you should tweet from your own account, although in exceptional circumstances we may be able to tweet on your behalf.
How much time am I expected to spend on this if I participate?
Accepted presenters will be allocated a 15 minute time slot in which they should present up to five tweets. We will try to give presenters slots that match their time zone, so that you can present and answer questions just like an in-person conference. You will need to spend some time preparing your tweets before the symposium. We encourage presenters to also spectate and engage with other presentations.
Spectators can participate as much or as little as they like on the day of the symposium. We will publish a symposium schedule before the event so you can decide which sessions or presentations to follow.
What if I am unable to present during my time slot?
If you are unable to present during your allocated time slot, you can schedule your tweets (using services such as Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or Buffer) so that they get posted automatically without you having to be online. As far as possible, we will allocate your presentation at a reasonable time for you, based on your timezone.
What if I don't know how to use Twitter?
If you are new to Twitter, don’t be intimidated! Twitter is the “awesome-people-you-may-never-meet network,” and is bustling with enthusiastic scientists just like you. Twitter can broaden your scientific thinking, expand your network and give you an instant sounding board across the globe.
Perhaps the best way to learn how to use Twitter is just dive straight in! Sign up for an account, then have a look around and follow some accounts to see how they do things.
If you want some further guidance on the basics, check out the following:
- Howcast Twitter video guide
- Twitter 101: A Tutorial for the Timid
- How to Use Twitter: Critical Tips for New Users
- WikiHow: How to Use Twitter
- Using Twitter in University Research, Teaching, and Impact Activities: A Guide for Academics and Researchers