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Twitter as a tool for conservation education and outreach: what scientific conferences can do to promote live-tweeting

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If more conservation-minded citizens were aware of certain environmental threats and how to resolve them, these issues could be resolved more effectively. Scientific conferences focusing on conservation bring together countless experts on environmental problems and solutions, but are not an effective means of reaching the interested public on a large scale. This paper discusses the use of twitter to share important conservation information from scientific conferences with the interested public. The basic usage of twitter is explained, and strategies to promote live-tweeting of scientific conferences are introduced. A case study (the 2011 International Congress for Conservation Biology) is discussed. If used properly, twitter and other social media technology can be a powerful tool for conservation education and outreach from scientific conferences.

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The author would like to thank the leadership of the Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology, particularly Dr. Chris Parsons and Dr. Carolyn Lundquist, for engaging his services as a conference tweeter. The author would also like to thank Mr. Andrew DeChellis of the University of Miami for his helpful suggestions regarding this manuscript, and Dr. Neil Hammerschlag of the University of Miami for all of the assistance he has provided as the author’s Ph.D. adviser. Aaron Muszalski of Upwell provided the detailed analysis of #ICCB tweets, Mary Canady of Comprendia provided comparative statistics for other scientific conference, and Tiffany Lohwater of the American Association for the Advancement of Science answered questions about the methods AAAS uses to promote tweeting at their annual meeting. Funding was provided by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, and the Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy.

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Correspondence to D. S. Shiffman.

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Shiffman, D.S. Twitter as a tool for conservation education and outreach: what scientific conferences can do to promote live-tweeting. J Environ Stud Sci 2, 257–262 (2012).

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