UK PlantSci 2013 & the Journal of Experimental Botany

Anne Osterrieder
Oxford Brookes University

Running time: 00:11:12 min

Space to Grow: Plant Science and Social Media


Social media web sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook allow users to host and share content and connect with like-minded people. Many scientist are reluctant to engage with social networks for a variety of reasons. These include the perception of social media as unprofessional, a lack of time, or not feeling confident about the technological aspect of their public nature. This, however, means missing out on opportunities of making current research available in an accessible way to the 'next generation', which is growing with smartphones and tablet computers. According to Alexa (, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are amongst the ten most visited web sites in the world. Students, teachers and letures increasingly use YouTube as search engine for scientific content. Web blogs enable researches to write about their work in an informal way and include a built in discussion platform. Social networks such as Twitter or Facebook facilitate dialogue between plant scientist and non-experts, and engage students with topics beyond their textbooks. In my talk I will showcase examples of 'online engagement' and highlight different ways in which social media can be used effectively to make plant science more accessible. Examples include plant cell music videos, blogs, and the story of how 'Organellar wars' suddenly emerged on Twitter, and how for a short time took over the lives of US high school students and cell biologist.


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