social media


Science Communication and the Art of Not Stealing

Posted 14 March 2014 by Matt Shipman

I love art. In my free time, I enjoy visiting galleries and museums; in my professional life, I occasionally work with artists and designers on various communication projects. For these and other reasons, I know that art has value. And I’m not talking about some ethereal sense of moral, spiritual, or aesthetic value. I’m talking about dollars and cents. Art is, after all, a product. It is produced by the labor of artists. It is bought and sold – which... Read more

Why I Started

Posted 17 February 2014 by Matt Shipman

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Graham Short, a researcher at the California Academy of Sciences and founder of the science news site, Sciworthy. is a newly-launched science news platform for emerging and established scientists (grad students, post-docs, and Ph.Ds) to summarize their scientific research papers for a non-scientific or lay audience in order to share with family, friends, the general public, and even fellow scientists in other specialties. Each posting includes an engaging headline, the non-technical... Read more

Twitter, Analytics, and the Frustration of Silence

Posted 14 January 2014 by Matt Shipman

This (short) post is not explicitly about science communication. It's more about the lack of communication. But I'm hoping that maybe, finally, it will help me get some feedback from Twitter. (Note: this post has been updated. See bottom of story.) I write, and speak, fairly often on subjects related to communication metrics: how we measure the impact of our blogs, social media, etc. I'm currently working on two large(ish) projects that deal explicitly with social media metrics. So it... Read more

Why (and How) Nature and Reddit Science Are Teaming Up

Posted 11 December 2013 by Matt Shipman

On December 6, Reddit’s Science “Subreddit” announced a partnership with the venerable science news source Nature. Why did they team up? I wanted to know what Reddit, essentially an online bulletin board with an active community of users, would get out of partnering with Nature. I also wanted to know what Nature would get out of partnering with Reddit, which – though nicknamed “the front page of the internet” – has occasionally come under fire for the unsavory nature of... Read more

Fund It Yourself: How (and Why) One University Launched Its Own Science Crowdfunding Site

Posted 2 October 2013 by Matt Shipman

As grant dollars have begun to dwindle, the research community has become increasingly open to the idea of using crowdfunding to finance scientific research. One university has taken the idea a step further – creating its own crowdfunding site to support faculty research. The new site, called Georgia Tech Starter (GT Starter), works much like more conventional crowdfunding platforms, such as RocketHub, or Kickstarter. But there are a few differences – like the requirement that projects pass a peer-review... Read more

Run Home to Start Writing: an Interview with Ivan Oransky, Part One

Posted 24 July 2013 by Matt Shipman

From family practice to cancer research, there are many career paths open to medical doctors. But few take the path chosen by Ivan Oransky, who became a journalist after earning his M.D. Oransky has worked for news outlets from Scientific American to Reuters Health, and has most recently taken a position as global editorial director for the online news service MedPage Today. Somehow, he’s also found time to create two blogs, Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch, that focus on little-discussed... Read more

A Social Network to Inspire and Communicate Science, en Español

Posted 16 July 2013 by Matt Shipman

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer, vice-director of CienciaPR. It is part of Communication Breakdown’s occasional series of posts about improving science communication for Spanish-speaking audiences in the U.S. and elsewhere. The post is available en Español here.] Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. — Albert Einstein Science communication strives to increase the understanding of science by making... Read more

Una red social para inspirar y comunicar la ciencia, en español

Posted 16 July 2013 by Matt Shipman

Por Mónica I. Feliú-Mójer [Editor's note: this guest post is available in English here.] La comunicación de la ciencia busca aumentar el entendimiento de la misma haciéndola emocionante, inspiradora y algo con la que la audiencia se puede identificar. Una manera de lograr esto es comunicando la ciencia en la lengua materna de la audiencia, utilizando ejemplos de su propia cultura y contexto. Por tanto, para comunicar la ciencia de manera efectiva, el idioma en que se comunica es importante.... Read more

Dinosaurs, Negative Results and Science Festivals: 2013 Second Quarter Roundup

Posted 11 July 2013 by Matt Shipman

Dinosaurs, negative results, Deborah Blum, science festivals, Nautilus, Jessica Wapner and the importance of words. Communication Breakdown has covered a lot of interesting, important and (often) fun things over the past few months. Because it can be tough to keep track of every post on a blog, I’m writing quarterly roundups of all the posts I’ve run here. Here’s what you might have missed from April 2 through July 9, 2013. If you find anything great that you missed before,... Read more

What Twitter May Be Able to Tell Us (in Advance) about Citations

Posted 7 June 2013 by Matt Shipman

Social media platforms allow people to exchange information, including scientific information. That’s one reason many scientists are active on social media. I just read a paper (not new, but new to me) that suggests social media – particularly Twitter – may actually also serve as something of a crystal ball for predicting the scientific impact of journal articles. I read a recent post by entomology researcher Cameron Webb on whether social media can increase the exposure of newly-published research. (It’s... Read more