Twitter is a free social networking tool that enables people to communicate using short text messages, known as tweets, which can be broadcasted very broadly. It is estimated that there are 500 million twitter accounts with 200 million active users.
Tweets are displayed on the author’s profile page as well as being delivered to the author’s subscribers, known as followers. Twitter attempts to inform people about what matters to the author and can do this as it is happening. One popular use of Twitter in the astronomy world is to tweet what is happening during a conference. Twitter provides an easy mechanism to share information with engaged followers who are interested in the subject matter.
Motivation and Goal
There is a disappointing lack of coverage of Canadian astronomy in the mainstream media (newspapers, TV, radio). The media world is rapidly changing from a one-to-many model to a many-to-many model where individuals, using various social media tools such as Twitter, can share information, news, images, etc., with an audience who are interested.
The goal of the @AstroCanada Twitter account is to share information about Canadian astronomy to the significant number of Canadians, and others around the world, who are interested in Canada’s astronomy activities, or astronomy in general. In addition, as followers of @AstroCanada retweet this information, it will be shared with successively more individuals.
The @AstroCanada Twitter account is unlike most corporate Twitter accounts and is be modeled after the Swedish national Twitter account. Control over the @AstroCanada will be handed over to a different CASCA member each week. This person can tweet on anything they like as long as they follow the guidelines (see below).
Possible content for tweets will include research results, cool facts about Canadian astronomy or astronomy in general, observing runs, conferences, life as astronomer, etc. Followers of @AstroCanada will get a different view of Canadian astronomy each week from faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and others who are CASCA members.
A list of people who wish to represent CASCA will be maintained by the Chair of the CASCA Education and Public Outreach committee, who will choose a person to run @AstroCanada each week (Monday to Sunday).
A guide to Twitter for beginners: http://www.hashtags.org/platforms/twitter/twitter-for-beginners-basic-guidelines-before-you-start/
- Avoid controversial topics such as politics, religion, etc. in all tweets.
- Do not use offensive language.
- Reply to all questions directed to @AstroCanada: this will engage the people who are following @AstroCanada.
- Tweet at least 4-5 times a day to maintain a presence on Twitter.
- When tweeting about science, include the #cdnsci hashtag in your tweets to take advantage of the people who follow this established hashtag.
Please click here for the @AstroCanada Twitter Schedule