Tag it!


Adding social media tags to your presentations

Time and time again I sit in an audience at a conference and see speakers I know who are on social media not include their social media handles in their presentation. The same goes for poster presentations.

Twitter is the social media platform of choice in ornithology. A study I was involved with even showed that Twitter contributes 75% of altmetrics to ornithology papers.

The BOU is arguably the most Twitter-centric and social media promoting society in ornithology. At our 2018 annual conference (#BOU2018) 70% of presentations (oral and poster) carried social media tags (99% Twitter), and overall, 58% of delegates were on Twitter. So the message is definitely getting through in the UK. But what about elsewhere?

Sadly, the wider picture is not that great. For some time, Nicole Wood (@WildlifeBioGal @ScicommMonday) and myself have been collecting data on ecology conferences and the use of social media tags by presenters (primarily posters as this data is easier to collect particularly at parallel session events). Our findings show a mixed bag with between 0% and 37% of poster presenters carrying any form of social media tags (n=11 events, 2015 – 2018, excluding BOU events), and only three events were over 10%.

Within ornithology we can see that #NAOC2016 (North American Ornithological Congress) was only 12 (2.5%) of the 450 posters carried tags, #AOSSCO17 (American Ornithological Society and Canadian Ornithological Society meeting) saw 13 (11.5%) of the 114 posters with tags, whilst #HNBirds2017 (International Hole-Nesting Birds Conference) 6 (37%) of the 20 posters carried tags.

So what can you do? Well, thats an easy one to answer!

Tag your slides

If presenting a talk, or running a workshop using a screen, then make sure that at least your title slide has your (primary) social media tags. See this title slide from Alice Trevail @AliceTrevail

Better still, add a tag to every slide – that way when someone in the audience photographs and tweets an individual slide, the slide isn’t anonymous and you go with your slide! See this mid-talk slide by Richard Broughton @woodlandbirder

Tag your poster

Posters are easy to tag, and this is a great example from Katie Rogerson @Katiebee1991. Clear and uncluttered, and next to her own photo which helps cement the Twitter handle with the person.


If you’re doing any sort of handout, be this for a poster, or at a workshop, make sure your social media tags are included.

And don’t forget your institute’s tag! Add it by the logo to connect the two together.

Tag your badge

It still amazes me that many conferences don’t collect social media tags and add them to delegate badges, programmes, etc. So be prepared! Take a sharpie with you to tag you conference badge with your social media tag(s), or even better, make up a purpose-made badge to add to your delegate lanyard.

Tweet your presentation

The really Twitter-savvy presenters are now posting a Tweet presentation to coincide with their live presentation. By far the best way to do this is a Twitter thread (see here). Here are a couple of great examples from #BOU2018.

Paul Jerem @PaulJerem
Infrared thermal imaging to assess physiological state in free-living birds

View Twitter thread

Nina O’Hanlon @NinaOHanlon
Seabirds and marine plastic debris in the northeastern Atlantic
View Twitter thread

Learn more about communicating your research using social media

We have many articles on the benefits of using social media for research. Here are a few, and many more here.

Tweeting birds: online mentions predict future citations in ornithology
Royal Society Open Science
How social is #NAOC2016? – a blog from NAOC2016
How social are ornithologists? IBIS Viewpoint and NOAC2016 poster
Twitter #masterclass 13: Twitter threads
Twitter #masterclass 12 – Twitter best practices
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
Making social media and the web work for you
Social media is relevant to your research
Presentations from the BOU’s ‘social media in ornithology’ workshop at #EOU2015
What do you mean you ‘don’t know how to optimize your paper for SEO?!

Blog with #theBOUblog

If you want to write about your research in #theBOUblog, then please see here.