Assistant Curator of Entomology, Ashleigh Whiffin, has collaborated with researchers in Canberra, Australia (Dr Bryan Lessard and Andrea Wild, CSIRO) to discuss the use of social media platforms in promoting entomological collections. The publication, A Guide to Public Engagement for Entomological Collections and Natural History Museums in the Age of Social Media, formed part of a special science communication collection in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.
Social media has revolutionized the way research and museum collections communicate with the general public by disseminating knowledge and information in real time. Currently there are limited studies examining the use of social media by museums and entomological collections to engage the general public online. Social media has the power to promote museum and collection events, research, and staff, as well as raise awareness of entomological collections and demonstrate their relevance to the public, industry, policy makers, and potential students of entomology. This publication introduces SCOPE, a new framework for promoting museums and entomological collections using social media. The SCOPE framework streamlines strategy development, content choice, refinement of online engagement, choice of social media platform, and evaluation of social media campaigns using altmetrics. Case studies from the Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO, and National Museums Scotland following the SCOPE framework are provided so that other museums, entomological collections, staff, and students can replicate it to develop and maintain their own social media presence.
A short presentation of this work by Dr Lessard, recorded for the Entomological Collections Network Annual Meeting in Denver, USA, November 2017, can be seen here.
Since publishing this paper a departmental Twitter account for NMS Natural Sciences has been established and is proving to be a quick and easy way of sharing our collections and research to a wider audience. You can follow us here: @NatSciNMS.