Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Saturday, 5 September 2009

We're going to need a bigger hashtag(s) II

Short link for this post:

I've set up a TwapperKeeper page for #scidebate which will record each tweet which contains that hashtag

This system also lets you set up folders so that, by using a second tag, tweets can be further filtered.

Using the additional tag !g will send a copy of that tweet to a folder for good examples of news stories about science; the tag !b will send the tweet to the bad examples folder.


  • Newspaper X on Story Y (URL) gets the story right #scidebate !g - this tweet goes to the good examples folder.
  • Newspaper Z on Story A (URL) is an example of churnalism #scidebate !b - off to the bad examples.
Yes, it is a bit Veruca Salt and the Golden Egg in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory.

Background info
This post follows on from my thoughts on collecting 'good' and 'bad' examples of news stories relating to the forthcoming RI debate between Ben Goldacre and Lord Drayson - I first blethered about this here

Ben G points out in the latest edition of TSR (The Science Reporter, the newsletter of the Association of British Science Writers) that "discussions on this problem could easily descend into banal lists of examples."

Unfortunately banal lists of examples is exactly what I'm playing around with - partly to try new web tools, partly to see what the info's like, partly to enable the collection of 'data' for other people. I've no idea if it will actually work or be useful.

I had already set up a What The Hashtag page for the tag #scidebate, however I noticed that not all instances of the tag persist - some of the earlier tweets have already been lost. Annoying, but I still think that wthashtag is a very agile way of harvesting a bunch of tweets from an event.

Hence my TwapperKeeper plan B. While I was setting it up to record the tag I spotted the bit about filtering into folders and thought that might work. We shall see.

More background info
Probably the best way to collect examples would be for a competent social science research team to go through newspapers and press releases objectively and report their findings. It's a while since I did my Dip Sci Comm with Birkbeck so I'm not really part of the dialogue any more, but possibly it's been done and I'll reserve this space for the info that comes in if people tell me about it :)

This space for pulished research findings...

Anything else that I / others do via Twitter or FriendFeed is likely to be very biased by people sufficiently motivated to bleat from their side of the debate and to be using Twitter to do so. I'm not under any illusion that this constitutes quality evidence - but I don't see any harm in having examples of good and bad to hand.

It's also worth considering that turning things into an either / or choice is daft as some will be 'mostly good' - also there's the issue of the importance of a story. The further I get through this blog the less I think of the idea ;)

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