While some 24,000 scientists were hoofing it between the Moscone buildings in San Francisco last month, another facet of the American Geophysical Union’s 2014 Fall Meeting—involving tens of millions of people—was unfolding on Twitter. Scientists, the media, and interested members of the general public around the globe were tweeting and retweeting gems from the meeting, to the point that the hashtag #AGU14 trended first or second on Twitter most of the week.
As the Fall Meeting progressed, there were giant spikes in AGU Twitter activity, reaching thousands of tweets per hour during and after AGU press conferences. Perhaps the most popular tweet of the week was sent by NASA’s @MarsCuriosity (see above), which followed a press conference about methane found on Mars. The tweet lifted off on 16 December, was retweeted more than 8200 times, and was still going 3 weeks later. To put this into perspective, outside of the Fall Meeting week, a typical AGU-related tweet is considered successful if it garners 20 retweets.
Of course, Fall Meeting tweeting was not only about the press conferences. There were also live tweets about sessions and lectures, the 5K Fun Run, news articles and blog posts, and restaurant recommendations. Attendees also tweeted selfies in front of trolley cars adorned with AGU ads and images of snow-clad mountains shot through windows of airplanes en route to San Francisco.
The numbers speak for themselves: Some 28,073 Twitter users generated 56,847 tweets or retweets about the 2014 Fall Meeting. Those tweets reached about one in four Twitter users worldwide (specifically, 72.2 million out of 284 million active Twitter accounts)—a 61% increase from Fall Meeting 2013.
All those tweets multiplied by all the followers of all those tweeters resulted in the delivery of more than 459 million Fall Meeting tweets. There’s no telling how many additional tweets lacked the proper hashtag and so were not tracked, but it’s clear that for a few days in December, the global Twittersphere was reverberating with AGU.
—Larry O’Hanlon, AGU Social Media Coordinator; [email protected], @Earth2larryo
Citation: O’Hanlon, L. (2015), Fall Meeting erupts on Twitter, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO023725. Published on 10 February 2015.