Twitter-Specific Frequently Asked Questions
(Questions are listed in no particular order, but they are all close to the top of the frequency list.)
Where does your Twitter avatar come from?
Do you have any advice for scientists who want to use Twitter to talk about science?
That's a big topic, but I can direct you to a couple of links. Here is an article I wrote for a Melbourne University magazine about using Twitter, and here is a discussion of a talk I gave at Duke University about how physicists can use Twitter productively. You might also find these tips useful. Good luck!
Where can I find other astronomers and physicists to follow on Twitter?
Good question! There are a lot of great people, but you might want to start by checking out the lists maintained on the TrueSciPhi blog. I especially recommend the lists of highly followed women in astronomy and physics. Also, check out the #BLACKandSTEM lists maintained by scientist Stephani Page.
Do your tweets represent any organization you are affiliated with?
Okay honestly no one has ever asked me this, but I thought I should put it here just to be clear. My tweets are my own; I'm not on Twitter to represent any organization. I tweet what I'm thinking about, I share cool science stuff, and sometimes I just ramble. No one I work for has anything to do with it, though all the professional organizations with which I am affiliated do follow me through their own Twitter accounts!
Will you tweet this link for me?
It's unlikely. Sorry. I tend to tweet things based on my personal preferences and thoughts, because this is a personal account, and people rely on me to be a real person. Sometimes that means I tweet LHC news and sometimes that means I tweet pictures of pangopups but it's always based on what I feel like sharing with my followers at the moment. My followers are here expecting me to share my genuine thoughts and interests, not act as a conduit for someone else's. So it's always super awkward when people want to use me as a megaphone for their own cause, even if it's basically a good one. Please keep in mind that when you ask me to retweet something, you're asking me to hand over not only my own attention and trust, but that of my followers, and that's something I take very seriously.
Will you follow me back on Twitter?
Probably not. I follow a lot of people, so I try to avoid adding new follows unless I have some reason to believe that I'll be especially interested in what they tweet about. Which is not to say you're not interesting! I'm sure you are! I just... will probably not follow you. Sorry.
Why did you block me on Twitter?
I've blocked a lot of people on Twitter. Sometimes I block people because for whatever reason I don't want to hear what they have to say. (My Mentions can get pretty crowded and scrolling through tweets I'm not interested in seeing gets tedious. Of course everyone I block is welcome to share their views elsewhere! I just choose to opt out of seeing them.) Sometimes people are blocked automatically by auto-blocking services I subscribe to. If that happened to you, it's not personal, and it may be a mistake, but from my perspective the false positives are worth it for the peace and quiet that those services offer. If you're blocked and you truly believe you must have been blocked by mistake, and also you think that I would really much rather be seeing your tweets than not, you can try getting in touch and letting me know. But I hope you won't be upset if it turns out the blocking was not a mistake. I carefully curate my Twitter experience for my own special purposes. The decisions I make around that might not be the ones you would make, but I'm glad I get to make them.