When @IBIS_journal wanted to group its science content tweets, and encourage others to share their avian science tweets with us and others, we looked at the various options and the various hashtags already being used.

We soon disregarded the #bird and #birds tags as far too general and science tweets would simply get lost. #Avian on its own didn’t accurately describe the content, and this tag was frequently used with avian disease content. #AvianScience was an option, but once we got to thinking about a tag this long, the obvious tag was perfect – #ornithology.

The #ornithology tag was already in use (since 2009) but by constantly using the tag for all our avian science tweets it very quickly became established as ‘the’ tag for avian researchers to use to share their research.

A hashtag can increase engagement by up to 50%


Figure 1. The early growth of the #ornithology tag on Twitter, 2014 – 2015 (from Dudley & Smart, 2016. How social are ornithologists? View).

The #ornithology tag on Twitter continues to grow and at the end of 2017 had over 6,500 engaged users/contributors (Fig. 2) reaching up to 4 million accounts a day and a wider reach of over 75 million accounts per month.

Figure 2. A track of the #ornithology tag for one month at the end of 2017: 0ver 5,000 original tweets and 15,000 retweets from over 6,500 contributors. I know of no other tag that is more actively used than the #ornithology tag on Twitter

#ornithology reaches over over 4 million Twitter accounts day

Over time, most avian researchers on Twitter discover the #ornithology tag and there are now relatively few avian science tweets which do not use the tag (I periodically check and retweet things I find with the #ornithology tag, and this is diminishing over time).

There are many other relevant avian science tags being used on Twitter, the most regular are #shorebirds, #seabirds, #seabirdersaturday, #urbanbirds and #urbanecology.

The tag #raptors has a lot of non-science on it and unless you want to cross over to a really general tag, avoid #birds as there is rarely any science content on this one and it is used by Uncle Tom Cobbly et al when posting images of birds.

See also
Twitter #masterclass 1 – #hashtags and retweets
Twitter #masterclass 6 – #hashtag best practice
The #power of the hashtag

More social media blogs and content from the BOU

Conference tweeting: what is it good for?
How social are ornithologists?
Let the BOU work for YOU . . altmetrics
Let the BOU work for YOU . . blogging
Let the BOU work for YOU . . on social media
The benefits of blogging about your research
What is Altmetric?
Making social media and the web work for you
Social media is relevant to your research
Presentations from our ‘social media in ornithology’ workshop at #EOU2015
What do you mean you ‘don’t know how to optimize your paper for SEO?!
Twitter – building an online ornithological community
The global ornithological online community
Ornithological Twitterati, Tweetie-pies and #birdieluv
Twitter #masterclass 2 – stop using auto-generated tweets
Twitter #masterclass 3 – editing and structuring your tweets
Twitter #masterclass 4 – organise your incoming tweets
Twitter #masterclass 5 – content is everything
Twitter #masterclass 7 – using images – best practice
Twitter #masterclass 8 – conference tweeting (for delegates, presenters and organisers)
Twitter #masterclass 9 – Twitter basics 1: terminology
Twitter #masterclass 10 – Twitter basics 2: replying to tweets
Twitter #masterclass 11 – Twitter basics 3: replying to tweets
Twitter #masterclass 12 – Twitter best practices

Blog with #theBOUblog

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