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Shiver with planticipation: thanks and farewell Ian Street – Real Scientists

Shiver with planticipation: thanks and farewell Ian Street

Plant biologist Ian Street (@IHStreet) joined RealScientists in March, and because he is super awesome, he has already written up a post on his own blog about his time at RealScientists. Go read it right here!

Highlights from Ian’s week included discussions on mental health and the #academicselfcare hashtag. Ian is really quite good at the hashtag thing, also starting up #PlantsAreEssential – an excellent showcase of the plant products we use every day.

Here is a cool plant.

Another cool plant (well, it used to be…)


Also cats. Because internet. Hello cat!

We asked Ian our usual set of post-curation questions and his answers are below.

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

Exhausting! Intense. Vulnerable. But good. I had my first experience with a hashtag really trending, which was cool. I think I may have talked a bit too much about myself, not enough about science, but then, I did talk about things I am interested in and care about.

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

I’m a fairly old hand at Twitter at this point, but it was a lot. I found myself rushing some responses and I did offend one person inadvertently (I apologized & moved on).

It was daunting too, because I felt the need to keep the conversation going as well- there were definite points when it slowed down.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

The #AcademicSelfCare hashtag was definitely the highlight. People really responded to it with such great tweets, links, and openness.

Lowlight (that was also a highlight in a lot of ways) was a person that basically trolls scientists who talk about GMOs and I engaged with her for awhile (amazingly, no one else really did). It made me scared to do a full on GMO discussion, but we did get into the topic a bit and some of the vehement instant namecallers came out of the woodwork, but everyone (including me) ignored them…it was amazing.

And I do feel bad for offending someone- I did apologize, but the fast pace and my tendency to be sarcastic really backfired on that occasion.

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

I wish I’d had a bit more time to plan out my week, but I covered most of what I wanted to. There were some sub-topics I’d have like to pursue, like a dedicated discussion about STEM teaching, but we dd talk more generally about scicomm, which was good.

And we didn’t do a Diversity in STEM discussion, except in passing.

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

I did have a loose plan and a few hashtags written down. I stuck to most of it but also came up with some things pretty spontaneously too. I let the followers guide me to topics that seemed really resonant with them, rather than forcing a discussion all about what I wanted to talk about, or just how they wanted to talk about it. I tried to vary the discussion to interest as many people as I could too.

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

Definitely have a plan. Storify is your friend, have some hashtags in mind and use them- then collect the tweets at the end of the day. And good hashtags take time to come up with. I had a fluke with #AcademicSelfCare (first idea turned out to be resonant).

Let the followers be your guide too- listen to them and what they are saying and go with them on things too.

Retweeting is also your friend– especially when people are making the points you want to make– you can concur quickly and move on.

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

There’s my personal account @IHStreet, but then there’s a big world of plant science twitter- finding the followers of plant professional societies might be a good way to find people to follow (like @GlobalPlantGPC, @ASPB). And I’d say look into my followers (or people I follow) for people that care about plants, teaching in STEM, scicomm, and mental health/well being in academia- as well as just building a better/more sustainable scientific enterprise.


Thanks once again Ian 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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