Thanks for a wild week from David Steen curating @RealScientists

BwGEv6uIEAAjdM4Last week (24-30th August) David Steen (@AlongsideWild) took over @RealScientists to tell us all about things that live under rocks, biodiversity, preservation.

You can read all of David’s tweets at this handy collected link. You can also view his collection of cool wildlife photos as a collage here (warning contains snakes… so many snakes).

As is our habit here at Real Scientists I’ll leave it to David to tell us more about his week via our post curation Q&A.

How did you find your week as a curator?

I really enjoyed my week as curator and the opportunity to talk about the things I’m passionate about to a new audience. I know a bunch of the Real Scientists tweeps followed my at my usual handle and I’m looking forward to continuing the conversation there. Tweeting at Real Scientists also exposed me to a diversity of opinions and viewpoints that I don’t typically encounter so that was great for me in that it prompted me to refine some of my stances on various issues as well as how to communicate them.

It can be a shock talking to 13,000. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

Prior to my stay I paid attention to previous curators and the extent of interactions and engagement so I believe I was prepared for the rush.

Were there any lowlights?

There weren’t any lowlights. Of the thousands of interactions, the vast majority were interesting and insightful; there were only a couple that suggested to me the person was more interested in arguing than discussion.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Don’t overwhelm the audience, this is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t assume anyone just tuning in has followed a conversation from the beginning. Ideally make each tweet stand-alone or be explicit when you’re tweeting/re-tweeting a series of messages that pertain to a certain theme/conversation. Retweeting something when the context isn’t clear is a good way to confuse and disengage someone. Don’t be afraid to let the conversation move away from what you originally intended, but at the same time don’t let a few vocal individuals moderate your time, for every individual engaging with you there are likely dozens if not hundreds more silently watching.

Other than yourself of course, are there any other people/accounts that people should follow if they liked you and what you covered?

I try to give a non-academic take on wildlife ecology and conservation news and commentary and generally don’t use Twitter for personal reasons. For a similar Twitter philosophy, the following accounts come to mind:

@jgold85; @laelaps; @whysharksmatter; @AlistairDove, @kwren88, @Mojoshark

Many apologies to the many excellent Twitter accounts that I have failed to remember off the top of my head.

What TV show do you think everyone should go watch right now?

Although I enjoy movies I don’t watch a lot of TV and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a TV show that I thought everyone should go watch. That said, I enjoyed The Wire and Breaking Bad, I think those programs demonstrated what can be done on television. My guilty pleasure is The Walking Dead.

A huge thank you from the RS team and our followers across the world, David! Farewell!


About Matthew (@MCeeP)

I have worked in science now for about 8 years since graduating from Lancaster University. The first 4.5 years of my career were spent at a little company called Mediwatch Biomedical helping to develop a prostate cancer test. It was while working at Mediwatch that I published my first paper and my first patent! Following mediwatch I spent an very enjoyable half a year working as a consultant for a small research company (Leksing) and a very talented artist called Jane Edden who was working on a project with Kew Gardens and their Economic Botany collection. The remaining 3 years have been spent working on my PhD at Cranfield University (which I have now finished) where I developed a range of novel fibre optic based sensors under the supervision of the Department of Engineering Photonics."

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