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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1144: III International Symposium on Postharvest Pathology: Using Science to Increase Food Availability

Science and social media: how to avoid feeding the troll and save your time

Author:   L. Mannella
Keywords:   internet, journalism, communication, society, scientists, press, hoax
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1144.1
Abstract:
Scientists are committed to face many issues in postharvest pathology and food safety, thus we wonder how they have ended up in dealing with internet trolls too. A troll being a person who overruns social media and websites' comments section with taunting and offensive content, the scientific community has quickly become a typical target of trolling. On the other hand, social media have turned into a thriving environment suitable for scientist-to-scientist and scientist-to-public communication. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ gather hundreds of millions of users worldwide, including scientists and science students, while ResearchGate, LinkedIn and other online services have evolved into professional tools for researchers. Moreover, social media can also help scientists debunk fake news, disseminate clear scientific knowledge and support debates over key issues of public interest (e.g., GMOs, organic agriculture and food safety). Indeed, public discussion on social media is no more a “one-way” interaction. A social media user can freely interact with public profiles of research institutions and scientists, urging them to build a solid online presence to communicate science. Therefore, researchers should pay great attention to the management of social media, although it is a time-consuming task. Eventually, how are scientists going to cope with social media and benefit from them?

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