New Thread: Let's Build the Social Media Presence of Environmental Communicators/IECA!!

Stephen Depoe's picture

IECA members and list-servers: Hi again. New thread here. As you know, I am interested in building value for IECA as a professional organization, and also in growing the scope and impact of environmental communication as a global academic field as well as an ethical enterprise of practice.

Here is a new and important idea, something we should already be doing on our own as environmental scholars/educators/advocates practitioners and IECA members, but something we can do together to leverage our numbers and our diversity as a community.

Let's increase our social media activity to circulate the latest results of environmental communication research, relevant news from around the world, scientific breakthroughs in climate change and other areas, and a host of other topics. Let's expand the EC social media universe!!

Why should we do this? 1) enhances visibility of and networking among environmental communication scholars and others in a variety of circles (public, policy, academic, international), and 2) expands potential sources of material for our environmental communication courses as well as best practices for our advocacy work.  Here is a recent post that discusses positive impact of social media engagement on science communication:

How do we do this as an EC community? What does it mean to "increase our social media activity"? For now, I am going to focus on Twitter (which is an important social media platform utilized by scientists, journalists, advocates, and others to post and circulate news and information). Here are concrete steps you can take--

1. If you are currently a member of IECA, make sure your member profile includes your Twitter handle (if you are not a member of IECA, or have let your membership lapse, join at
2. If you are active on Twitter currently, you can share your Twitter handle here (by replying to this blog post or to the IECA list-serv message I posted) and discuss how you use Twitter and other social media platforms in your research, teaching, and advocacy work.
3. Start following one another (fellow IECA members or other colleagues) to expand your number of follows related to environmental and science communication. Expand the range of environmentally-related news and information sites that you follow. [HINT: Go to the IECA Twitter handle at @the_ieca, click on "followers" to see who is following IECA on Twitter. Or go to the IECA member directory--it's one of your benefits if you are a member.]
4. Encourage one another by liking and re-tweeting meaningful posts you have either authored or that you re-tweeted. VERY IMPORTANT--BUILD UP OTHERS IN YOUR COMMUNITY.
5. Reach out to people and organizations you are not currently acquainted with. Like their posts, start following them, and engage them directly with tweets that start with their Twitter handle. Make sure to let them know that you are an environmental communicator (scholar, educator, practitioner, etc.).
6. Share Twitter handles (of individuals or organizations) that you find meaningful in your work as a researcher, teacher, or advocate. You can do that through your own posts, or  by sharing them on this list-serv.
7. Develop and share thematic Twitter hashtags so that others can follow a topic in more depth as in unfolds in real time (good examples out there are #exxonknew, #climatesilence, #noXL, #environmentalracism, #envcomm, any many others.

If you have not used Twitter to promote your own work or the field more generally, here is a good introductory primer from Medium:

This work can be organic and ongoing (member-driven), and can have many positive benefits for you professionally, for IECA as a lead organization in the field (along with others like NCA, ICA, ECREA, IAMCR, IANSR, etc.), and for the field of environmental communication more broadly.  We have to get out there and share and promote what we are doing.

Science communicators are far out ahead of environmental communicators in using social media to circulate their work for maximum impact. One example of an effective social media science communicator is Michael Mann (award-winning climate scientist from Penn State, Twitter at @michaelEmann, 69,000 followers). Of course, Neil de Grasse Tyson (@neiltyson) has nearly 13 million Twitter followers, but we will set a lower bar than that.

Let's start with this: Of the over 350 IECA members, how many of you are active on Twitter? Of that group, how many of you would like to start working as "Twitter ambassadors" for environmental communication following one another, liking and re-tweeting useful tweets and links to content, and generally working to expand to social media impact of the field? 

Anyone can jump in and help on this project--but I'd love to hear from of few of you here. Share your social media story--Twitter handle, what you are following, how you use social media in your work, etc.

I'll share more on how I use Twitter in a reply to this post in a little while. I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU, FELLOW MEMBERS OF THE TWITTERVERSE! Let's build EC's social media presence together!!

PS--IMPORTANT--My own Twitter handle is @stevedepo. Be sure to include your Twitter handle in your e-mail signature (and with every article or book you publish) if you plan to use Twitter to boost circulation of your own work and the visibility of EC more generally.

What's your handle?


About the Author: 

Steve Depoe (Twitter: @stevedepo) is Professor and Head of the Department of Communication at the University of Cincinnati. He is a founding member of IECA and served as the chair of the organization from 2011-13.