Science recently published a letter I wrote to the editor regarding an article on social media as a means of outreach. For those interested in the origins of this unusual happening, please see Neil Hall's paper describing the Kardashian Index in the journal Genome Biology. Irrespective of what you think of this debate, my letter is an attempt to ask two simple questions about the scientific community's use of social media for public engagement:
1) Does it work?
2) If so, could we be using it more effectively?
Answering these questions objectively requires data. My recent collaboration with Drew Fulton, Colin Witherill and Javier Espeleta exploring the efficacy of Twitter and Facebook in driving visitors to our website Canopy in the Clouds revealed to me that, for the most part, we have no data. Let's raise the bar...
**Original post on 17 October, edited with additional information on the 21st and 29th of October.