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Science Communication Awards | Social Media

Social Media Nominees

This award recognises an individual’s science communication excellence using either Twitter or Facebook.

The five shortlisted nominees are listed below in alphabetical order by surname (see below for nomination and selection process):

Alex Bond – on Twitter as @TheLabAndField

The three examples provided as part of the nomination highlighting Alex’s scicomm on Twitter were:

  • #Auktober Twitter thread View
  • His regular contribution to the #MuseumScience tag View
  • Twitter thread on new seabird paper View

Alex is a large personality on Twitter, an active member of both #ornithology and LGBTQ+ Twitter communities and a vocal advocate for diversity and equality. The panel particularly liked his strong community presence with his willingness to share and openly engage with others. The panel also liked that although very active, his Twitter account maintains a focus on core topics close to him, including ornithology, seabirds in particular, as can clearly be seen from his nominated #Auktober thread.

Vote for Alex here

Mark Hulme – on Twitter as @MarkFHulme

The three examples provided as part of the nomination highlighting Mark’s scicomm on Twitter were:

  • Mark’s live tweeting from the 2019 Caribbean ornithology conference #BirdsCarib2019 View
  • Twitter thread on surveying sea caves in Trinidad for Oilbirds View
  • Mark’s ‘top’ tweets from his timeline shows that he doesn’t only just promote papers, he’s quick to quote tweet others and expand on or simply highlight their work View

Mark is a mid-career scientist who, whilst being on Twitter for some time, seems to have found his voice on the platform with his move to @UWI_StAugustine as a Lecturer in Zoology. He uses Twitter very effectively to promote his own work and that of others’ undertaking bird research in the Caribbean, giving this small community of ornithologists a voice and presence within the wider ornithological Twitter community. The panel particularly liked his tweets and videos of the surveying of sea caves for Oilbirds.

Vote for Mark here

Wouter Vansteelant – on Twitter as @WMGVs

The three examples provided as part of the nomination highlighting Wouter’s scicomm on Twitter were:

  • Twitter thread on Eleonora’s Falcon expedition to the Canary Islands View
  • A single tweet playing with an old dataset he wished to share View
  • Twitter thread on Sahelian bird communities and climate change View

The panel particularly liked Wouter’s Eleonora’s Falcon expedition thread incorporating adventurous and engaging images showcasing the day to day challanges of being in the field; one member said it was a benchmark for Twitter threads from the field. He openly engages with other researchers (in multiple languages) and frequently shares/promotes others’ work (as can be seen in the third nomination example above). An engaged and engaging ornithology community member.

Vote for Wouter here

Emily Williams – on Twitter as @wayfaringwilly

The three examples provided as part of the nomination highlighting Emily’s scicomm on Twitter were:

  • Twitter thread on her new paper on (there first tracking of American Robins across seasons View
  • Twitter thread on her new paper on the within-season dispersal decisions of grassland Sparrows View
  • Twitter thread on what got her interested in birds which lead her to be a scientis View

The panel liked Emily’s passion and found her Twitter timeline very personable and engaging, showcasing her interest and care for birds and the environment. She shows a great use of threads (as seen in the nomination examples above) to tell engaging stories. One panel member commented that they soon found themselves lost in the many interesting things on her timeline. Emily shares a lot of natural history facts from her region, not just bird related, and created a popular and engaging Twitter game (#WhosePoo).

Vote for Emily here

Sarah Winnicki – on Twitter as @skwinnicki

The three examples provided as part of the nomination highlighting Sarah’s scicomm on Twitter were:

  • Sarah’s excellent #ORNITHOLODAY on the @IBIS_journal account View
  • Her live tweeting from the AOS 2019 annual conference View
  • A comic strip thread on her study species, Grasshopper Sparrow View

The panel were impressed by Sarah’s social media presence being an engaged ornithology community member. Panel members commented that her timeline came across as very honest and relatable. She has a strong grasp and use of hashtags and openly questions things by asking for others’ input showing her willingness to share and learn. She is a strong and engaging storyteller as can be seen from her #ORNITHOLODAY and her fantastic comic strip thread. Good, engaging live-tweeting from a conference is also a real skill.

Vote for Sarah here

Nomination and selection process

Our open call for nominations for best ornithological communicator on Twitter and Facebook closed on 31 January 2020.

Twelve social media accounts were nominated. Four were excluded as they failed to meet submission criteria: one person nominated was excluded from nomination on the basis they were either a BOU staff member, the BOU Blog Editor, a BOU Support Officer and/or a BOU Trustee); one was a group account; two were the nominated social media examples provided by the nominator were not from 2019).

The remaining eight individuals, comprising four women and four men, were ranked by the our seven-person panel comprising four women and three men (see www.bou.org.uk/about-the-bou/science-communication-awards/panel/) with a diverse range of science interests and science communication activities.

Each panel member ranked the eight nominees (1-9 with 1 = high) and the median rank of the collated ranks was used to order the nine posts (1-9 with 1 = high) to arrive at a shortlist of five, comprising three men and two women, to be put to a public vote.

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We’re very grateful to Leica Camera UK for providing prizes for this years awards.

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