25 August 2023

Social media for scientists, circa summer 2023

Twitter is now X and its credibility is shattered. Even though a lot of people keep using it, but it’s the grudging use of people who are mostly only doing it because they have to.

So both personally and professionally, I’ve been looking at other social media platforms. In my view, only two are serious contenders for filling the void left by the gross mismanagement of Twitter.

BlueSky is the new science Twitter. It’s filled with the early adopters of Twitter, the Internet experimenters and science communicators. T-shirt and jeans. And the vibe is very much the freewheeling, ever-so-slightly – okay, maybe more than slightly – anarchic vibe of the early science online days.

Mastodon is  the new Academic Twitter. (The use of capitals is deliberate.) It’s got the feel of a lot of the late adopters of Twitter. The ones who were sort of persuaded that they could use a social media platform social media for promoting their brand and posting critiques of papers and doing, you know, being a serious scholar online. Polo shirts and slacks. The vibe is ever-so-slight slightly – okay, maybe more than slightly – po-faced and straight-laced.

Now, of course, your mileage may vary. These are my own personal impressions, not back up by any data. And to be clear, I am not saying that either is better than the other. There are clearly communities developing on both platforms that are finding worthwhile discussions.

External links

Thousands of scientists are cutting back on Twitter, seeding angst and uncertainty

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