Life

On recent events

We have tended to keep to botany here, or at least things directly relevant to botanical researchers. I’ll admit this might come as a surprise to one or two people so here’s why some non-botanical material might be getting into our tweets.

We have a couple of monitoring systems for Twitter. We need them as we follow over two thousand accounts. This is why we have paper.li and nuzzel.us that monitor accounts and see what the people we’re following are sharing. Popular stuff gets highlighted automatically. It’s all about numbers of people tweeting and a major non-botanical event has occurred recently that has caught the attention of many of the people we follow.

So, while I have been sorely tempted to tweet about the Welsh football team, I’ve not done so from the annbot twitter account. Any tweets you’ve seen in the automated outputs are due to others celebrating their amazing achievement, for example by tweeting video clips like the one below. It doesn’t mean that we have an official opinion on the spectacular success of the Welsh team in Euro 2016. I might have a personal opinion, but I won’t be leaving any clues here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocR5YxyjUuY

Another common theme, possibly even more popular,* has been Brexit. A lot of scientists have concerns about Brexit. It means that it crops up in our feed a lot because a lot of people that we follow are talking about it. It’s probably going to bubble up from time to time as the situation develops.

We could change what appears by changing who we follow, and we do that from time to time. For example, @annbot does not follow of my personal accounts on Twitter, because they don’t carry enough botanical material to add scientific value to our streams.

We could follow people posting other material ‘for balance’, but we’d still have complaints about balance and move even further from a botanical feed.

Bale

Instead, we are sticking to accounts that generally tweet on plant sciences. By following a lot of accounts we get a better overview of what is on the minds of botanists. If a non-botanical topic dominates our automated scanning then we’re happy for now that it accurately reflects the current concerns of scientists. When it comes to working out what is affecting botanists we follow the philosophy of the noted physical poet Gareth Bale, believing that we are Together Stronger.

*popular doesn’t seem exactly the right word

About the author

Alun Salt

When he's not the web developer for AoB Blog, Alun Salt researches something that could be mistaken for the archaeology of science. His current research is about whether there's such a thing as scientific heritage and if there is how would you recognise it?