As one of only a handful of tweeters at #iaus321 last week, it’s been fascinating to see the flood of tweets from this week’s Python in Astronomy 2016 (#PyAstro16) and Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (#LPSC2016).

Some people at the meeting last week told me that they were interested in tweeting conferences but didn’t know how to get started. Here are some ideas:

  1. Be positive. Complement someone publicly on a great talk. Tweet a picture of their awesome poster or spiffy space shoes. Thank the conference staff for their hard work and patience. Sure, the coffee is terrible and your hotel room has no hot water, but save complaints for really egregious issues. If a talk’s slides were truly unreadable, tell the presenter privately rather than berating them in public (and Twitter is public)! Try to bring the level of happiness up, not down.

  2. Don’t stress. You’re a scientist, not a journalist; you don’t have to cover everything you see and hear. Attempting to cover even a few talks comprehensively is a lot of work. I think it’s good to have time to think and reflect as well as report. It’s fine to just mention something that caught your eye, or something new that you learned about.

  3. Make connections. Use the conference hashtag in your Tweets and follow it to find out what others are saying. Mention people’s Twitter handles when discussing their work, especially if they’re not at the conference. Provide web links (to papers, code repositories, databases) when relevant. Tweet a picture of yourself with your poster so people can find you, like this, and put your handle on your nametag like this.

That’s enough to get you started. For more, see:

*How to live-tweet a conference

*10 simple rules of live-tweeting at scientific conferences

Have fun!