A gallery of scicomm: thanks and farewell Shaun O’Boyle

Shaun O’Boyle (@shaunoboyle), research coordinator at the Science Gallery Dublin joined Real Scientists in early February. We were taken on a journey through citizen science, the ins and outs of what really happens at the Science Gallery Dublin and how to get scientists and artists to collaborate in meaningful projects.

Shaun also knew that the way to our heart was through a seemingly endless stream of Agent Scully gifs, and we thank him profusely for this.

Shaun you certainly proved that there is!

We sent Shaun our post-curation survey and he’s kindly shared his thoughts and musings about his week below:

In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?

It was really enjoyable, but unexpectedly busy. I often manage the @SciGalleryDub account, which has a similar number of followers but not that level of interaction. Once I got into it, however, I really enjoyed it – and it was a fantastic opportunity to think about my work really broadly.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

Yes! But it was fine. I tried to keep to one or two ‘content’ tweets an hour, but interact with everyone who responded. It was really interesting to see what people were most interested in talking about, and I was surprised by how engaged the Sunday audience was.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

The main highlights involved me finding out about great scicomm initiatives I didn’t know existed before curating RS – from science teachers in Canada using Skype to connect their students to real scientists to citizen science initiatives that I had no idea were happening. I was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the followers, and really enjoyed getting into proper conversations with them. The only lowlight was a thread with a few people who objected to an artwork at Science Gallery – it wasn’t the objection that bothered me (I actually agreed with a lot of their points), it was the hostility that got to me. It was pretty easy to shake off, but it’s something I’d never anticipated as being a consequence of having lots of followers.

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?

Yes. I REALLY wanted to crowdsource a podcast with the followers, but I just didn’t get the time.

Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?

Yes. I made a spreadsheet on Saturday, before starting. I gave each day a broad theme and had about 10 things planned for each day as a buffer in case I had social media creative block. I stuck to it for 5 out of the 7 days – the only reason I didn’t stick to it for the other two is that the conversation naturally went there on the other days, so those themes had been covered.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Definitely make a plan in advance. I also found Hootsuite really useful – I used it to schedule my main tweets throughout the day, meaning I could check in regularly and focus on interacting with the followers.

What other people or accounts should people follow if they enjoyed your tweets this week?


Thanks once again Shaun from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from his week, the tweets are all collated at the following link.



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