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Lessons Learnt from Digital Comms Workshop

As researchers, it is becoming ever more important to make sure that the work that we do achieves impact. This is not just a question of the science itself needing to be of a high standard. It is also necessary to disseminate it and raise awareness about it.


On December 11th 2015 ELIXIR, the pan European research infrastructure for biological data, organised a workshop to develop its own communication strategies. There were a number of presentations from communication experts such as Mary Todd Bergman, Science communicator at the European Bioinformatics Institute. I found her talk particularly inspiring as I was able to learn much about social media communications, and, in particular, Twitter and blogging. Here I make an executive summary of my lessons learnt:

  • Social media takes time and one has to be prepared to invest in it to make an impact
  • Tweets with photos catch other people’s attention a lot more
  • Writing a tweet takes longer than writing a paragraph
  • For blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) requires that headers match the title and that images have the right descriptions
  • The main thing to get your message across is consistency
  • Anything that it is published via blog should be edited by someone else, regardless of whether the writer is or is not an English native speaker
  • Beware of nuances and humour, this is particularly important for non native speakers, as something intended to be humorous might have the opposite effect


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