Do Scientists Use Social Media to Influence the Judgments of Other Scientists?
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
Responding specifically to our discussion of the likely effect of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media on how scientists view the nature of science-related political debates, Pielke writes:
...certainly worthy of further study is the way in which scientists and members of the public establish informal collaborations via social media such as blogs to intimidate or make uncomfortable those who would express challenging views. As is the case with respect to the public, the media and the political process most attention has been paid on how these groups affect the work of scientists (e.g., the entire issue of "scientific integrity" is about outside interference in the work of government scientists), which is certainly a very important topic. By contrast, very little scholarly attention (that I am aware of) has been focused on how scientists engage with the public, the media and the political process in an effort to enforce within the scientific community a particular political agenda (or a view of science perceived to be consistent with that agenda).