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%
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).
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.
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About the author
Steve Dudley, the BOU’s Senior Administrator of 19 years, is responsible for social media and communications.
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