GDB5 | Is social media outreach?


Is social media a worthwhile vector for communicating science and reaching non-expert audiences? Proponents of social media highlight its ability for bringing otherwise inaccessible research to a global network, spreading research to new audiences whilst cultivating a following. The public can be updated with discoveries in real-time, without the potentially modifying lens of traditional media. And with content under the control of individuals or small groups communicators can flex and nurture their creativity. But communicating through social media often requires sacrificing nuance and accuracy for the extremely short time-frames of attention and engagement. Critics also state that it requires a considerable time-investment and money, which may otherwise distract from core research activities. Amongst this is also the fear that social media exposes communicators to the possibility of derision and hateful conduct. In this Great Debate, our panellists will be asking if effective communication on social media is possible or whether scientists are better investing their efforts elsewhere.

Public information:

We are thrilled to welcome the below panellists to this great debate: 

-Dr Bethan Davies, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography, Newcastle University.

-Dr Solmaz Mohadjer, Interdisciplinary Geoscientist, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems.

-Prof Stuart Lane, Professor in Geomorphology, University of Lausanne.

Convener: Jenny TurtonECSECS | Co-conveners: Simon ClarkECSECS, Nazimul IslamECSECS
Mon, 24 Apr, 14:00–15:45 (CEST)
Room E1
Mon, 14:00

Session assets

Session materials
The oral presentations are given in a hybrid format supported by a Zoom meeting featuring on-site and virtual presentations. The button to access the Zoom meeting appears just before the time block starts.


  • Bethan Davies, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  • Solmaz Mohadjer, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Germany
  • Stuart Lane, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland