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OSTI and Social Media: A Great Way to “Share” DOE STI
by Nena Moss on Tue, 8 Jul, 2014

@OSTIgov TweetsOSTI's mission is to advance science and sustain technological creativity by making R&D findings available and useful to DOE researchers and the public. As part of this commitment to America’s science and technology future, we strive to place information in consumers’ hands, specifically, at their fingertips. Rapidly changing technology and increasing demands from smartphone-toting consumers drive new paths to DOE research using new social media tools.

DOE supports the use of social media as an avenue to uphold “open government principles of transparency, participation and collaboration”, expand the conversation on energy issues, and communicate with the rising/next generation of researchers. OSTI regularly shares information through interactive and user-driven social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. OSTI makes social media posts not only about our scientific and technical information (STI) collections and search tools, but also retweets and shares STI-related posts from other DOE program offices and across the 17 DOE national laboratories.

This is not just a one-way exchange. Digital engagement creates value, not only as OSTI reaches out to users but as users link back to DOE R&D in OSTI’s electronic library. For example, the OSTI document Technology of mirror machines: LLL facilities for magnetic mirror fusion experiments  became more visible via a link from a photo posted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Flickr, an image and video social media site. Links back to OSTI documents are found in many places on the Web because of our large collection of DOE scientific and technical information (STI).

Twitter

Since its inception in 2008, the OSTIgov Twitter account has grown steadily and has been placed on numerous Twitter lists, ranging from Thinkers/Researchers to SCIENCE-TECH-Space to Government and Energy Digital. OSTI’s Twitter account supports OSTI homepage postings, product launches, and STI advances. High-value searchable hashtags (#) are created to boost ROI.

Tweets from OSTIgov can be seen and multiplied many times over. Scientific discovery speeds forward on social media posts by users like Jack Andraka, a Maryland high school student who at age 15 created a novel paper sensor that detects pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer in 5 minutes for as little as 3 cents. Jack, born into the Social Media age and a successful scientist at a young age, has 17K Twitter followers. When he Tweets about science, it goes places!

Facebook

OSTI’s Facebook page also debuted in 2008 as part of a social media initiative enhancing the reach of DOE STI. Posts seen by thousands who have liked the OSTI page provide updates and helpful information for OSTI products and services, as well as highlighting current research from DOE and national laboratories.

Facebook recently added a blue checkmark verifying official government accounts using the Federal Social Media Registry API. Notice the blue arrow beside the title of OSTI’s page, which lets users know it’s the real deal. This increases the trust and quality of citizen engagement on our page.

Google+

Followers of OSTI's Google+ page can separate their interests into distinct groups in one interface through Circles. Users who have OSTI’s Google+ presence in Circles are from all over the world and include such organizations as the U.S. News STEM Solutions, Repairs Universe, ScienceAlert, and the DOE national laboratories. 

Publishing posts on Google+ readily places them in Google search results, as they are crawled and indexed almost as soon as they’re online, furthering OSTI’s mission to make DOE R&D more accessible.  

Smartphone-toting users are embracing a world in which they can find out about almost anything in the real world, anytime. The 2014 consumer has an endless lust for information, for discovery, for instant gratification. OSTI welcomes this opportunity, using social media on a daily basis to engage the public and expand awareness of DOE scientific and technical information.

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About the Author

Nena Moss's picture
Nena Moss
Web Developer
OSTI Web tech, Information International Associates, Inc., musician