Science Twitter’s Year in Hashtags

Other than being incredibly dashing and smart, scientists — particularly biologists and the corresponding Biology Twitter — tend to be social media mavens, creating fun and educational hashtags left and right that quickly get picked up by news outlets (pay us!). Here’s a quick roundup of 10 hashtags from 2016.

#WildBum (credit: Gabriela K Hajduk @AmidstScience)

For every National Geographic cover-worthy picture of wildlife, there’s going to be hundreds of pictures of an animal’s butt. This hashtag made those hundreds of butt-shots something tweet-worthy.

#BiologistSpaceFacts (credit: David Steen @AlongsideWild)

Earlier this year, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson “left his lane” and tweeted something INCREDIBLY inaccurate about how species that had painful sex would’ve gone extinct a long time ago (just read up on traumatic insemination to see how wrong that is). Of course, Biology Twitter was quick to correct him.

With that, Biology Twitter creatively meshed ecology with space.

(Here’s a great #BiologistSpaceFacts Storify by Leah Crane @downhereonearth).

#FieldWorkScares (credit: Scott J Davidson @ScootJD)

Science isn’t always fun and games, particularly for those of us who work outside or study wild animals. From run-ins with wild predators and skeezy men to just plain getting lost, #FieldWorkScares details those stories that are never funny when they’re happening, only after (maybe).

Remember to stay safe out there, y’all!

#BestSpots (credit: Anne Hilborn @AnneWHilborn)

Why do animals have spots? Does it matter? (Spoiler alert: kinda). Let’s just enjoy all the different types of spots that nature provides!

Also, check out the alternative hashtag #BestStripes!

#ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike (credit: Kirsty MacLeod @kirstyjean)

Quick! Imagine a scientist. What did you picture? A white man in a lab coat, probably holding some sort of brightly colored chemical in a glass flask, right?

Is this your scientist?

Well, if you haven’t already guessed, scientists (and their much-needed field assistants!) come from a variety of backgrounds, study a variety of things, and look a variety of ways. Sometimes we’re in lab coats, sometimes we’re in muddy quick-dry pants. We’re queer, we’re straight, we’re black, Indian, Asian, white, we’re parents…we’re a spectrum! This hashtag celebrated the diversity in science.

#ScienceVsScientist (credit: Solomon David @SolomonRDavid)

Similar to #ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike, #ScienceVsScientist (inspired by #ArtVsArtist) was a way for us to make science more personal by showing what kind of science we did.

#TheInternetNamesAnimals (credit: @rob0sullivan @Rob0Sullivan)

Among many of the other outrages of 2016, there was the Boaty McBoatFace fiasco. SpaceTwitter started #TheInternetNamesSpace and we promptly followed along.

Filled with righteous fury, we took to Twitter to rename animals.

#PokeBlitz (credit: Morgan Jackson @BioInFocus)

For a few weeks this summer, it seemed as if Pokemon Fever had struck down every. single. person. out there with the release of PokemonGo.

Sensing an opportunity to do a little science communication while folks were outside attempting to catch fictional creatures, Morgan Jackson promptly created the hashtag/movement #PokeBlitz to provide species identifications for players who stumbled across animals they didn’t know.

People quickly started using the hashtag.

Other clever hashtags were spawned, including #Pokemology by Ryan Gott (@Entemnein) and #BioPokemon by Carly Tribull (@cmtribull).

#EcologistConfessions (credit: Meghan Duffy @duffy_ma)

Ecologists are people, too, and sometimes we do silly, stupid, or disgusting things (or have silly, stupid, or disgusting things happen to us). This hashtag gave us the chance to ‘fess up.

#ReignTheSwamp (credit: David Steen @AlongsideWild)

Recently, swamps have been denigrated in the mainstream media as something that needs to be “drained”. But it turns out that swamps are actually pretty important! Once again, scientists and other wildlife-lovers were quick to cape for the unfairly maligned ecosystems by showing the amazing biodiversity living in swamps.

From swamps to animal butts, 2016 was filled with awesome scientific hashtags. Who knows what 2017 will bring?