CLIVAR Social Media Guidelines

CLIVAR and social media

Social media is a digital platform, which is used widely by both the general public and scientists for communication and information dissemination. Social media platforms, which CLIVAR is involved in, include, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The benefits to using social media include:

  • Increasing CLIVARs access to a potentially interested audience

  • Improving the accessibility for CLIVAR communications

  • Improving long term cost effectiveness of communication

  • Increasing the speed of interaction, input and feedback from audiences

  • Targeting specific audiences, such as Early Career Scientists

  • Broadening the communication strategy away from traditional channels.

The measure of success of any social media tool is whether it allows you to engage with the target audience by facilitating:

  • Communication

  • Dissemination of information

  • Audience interaction, discussion and debate

  • Education

The use of social media alone does not make a good communications strategy. It must be combined with an array of other communications tools to deliver some of the abovementioned benefits.

CLIVAR social media strategy

The use of social media has advantages and disadvantages to consider and are highlighted in the table 1.

Overall the advantages gained through the use of social media outweigh the disadvantages. Consequently, terms of reference have been drawn up which try to mitigate the risks that can occur with social media usage, with properly defined regulation, specific to the current CLIVAR social media usage.

  • The goals

To raise awareness about CLIVAR and its activities to a wider community, specifically focusing on a younger generation of scientists.

To better interact with scientists through the content published.

  • The audience

The CLIVAR social network presence has been developed to primarily communicate to a wider scientific audience, and specifically the Early Career Scientist community and the wider public.

  • Included content

The posts will all be science related. Postings about relevant jobs and career development opportunities will be made as well as recent scientific publications and scientific outreach opportunities will be made. Content should be professional, related to climate variability and predictability covering both the ocean and atmospheric sciences.

It is essential that there should be no official CLIVAR discussion of particular policies related to climate. This will ensure that CLIVAR remains a purely scientific organization.

  • Social media tools

The social networking tools currently (as of July 2013) used by CLIVAR are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Social networking tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn allow information to be shared about the project, its activities and interests with friends, professional colleagues and other communities and individuals following your network. LinkedIn is generally more formal than Facebook for communications.

By contrast, a tweet is a short message, typically less than 140 characters, often broadcast from different locations and events through mobile services, which allows real time updates. Tweets are generally informal.

The CLIVAR Facebook and LinkedIn pages provide an information section with an overview of the programme. Comparatively the twitter page contains only a brief summary. LinkedIn will be used in an entirely professional context, for career development and to network with other scientists (in particular early career scientists), projects (e.g. EU FP7 THOR and NACLIM projects) and organizations (e.g. AGU, ICES etc.). Facebook and Twitter will be used in a slightly more informal context to create a community feel.

  • Maintenance of social media

The CLIVAR Facebook and twitter pages will be updated automatically with items posted on the CLIVAR newsfeed. Additional posts can then be added as appropriate.

The CLIVAR webmaster is responsible for developing the structure and architecture of the CLIVAR website, including linking the newsfeed with the social networking sites. An ICPO staff scientist will be responsible for monitoring the content published and adding additional updates to each of these sites as appropriate.

Members of the CLIVAR community who already use social media will be tasked to spread the information further to their own communities of followers on docisl medis networks. Up to date lists of CLIVAR scientists who are active on the different social media platforms will be made in order to try and track who is using social media most effectively.

  • Measuring the success of social media

The success of the social media campaign can be measured through facilities such s the number of followers or people liking the Facebook page/group. Google analytics can also be used to measure how much traffic is being directed to the main CLIVAR website from the social media postings.

  • Review of social media strategy

This strategy is a living document and thus should be regularly updated to reflect the current and up to date needs and consideration of the CLIVA community. It would be advisable to revisit the strategy and terms of reference on an annual basis.



Terms of Reference for CLIVAR social media use

  1. To provide an informal avenue of communication to a wide audience, including both scientists outside the CLIVAR community, early career scientists and the general public.

  2. To engage with early career scientists and entrain them into the CLIVAR community.

  3. To communicate the occurrence of CLIVAR meetings and other relevant events to the wider scientific community.

  4. To highlight findings of new scientific publications. These findings should not be expressed as CLIVAR opinion but act as a note to the community that the work has been published.

  5. Posts published should be within copyright laws, is credible, respectful and professional. Posts should also not involve any discussion of climate relevant policies.

  6. Check for appropriate language to ensure, whenever possible, that communications are not misinterpreted.

  7. To publicize the use of social media on email signatures, CLIVAR website, in banners, flyers and brochures.

  8. To interact with other WCRP /science projects already registered in social networks to promote key science topics though live chat sessions, hash tags and discussions.





Advantageous applications

Disadvantages to consider

Advantageous applications

(Beyond that of Facebook)

Disadvantages to consider

  • Outreach programmes can target different audiences through social media


  • Public service announcements


  • Publicizing events


  • Feedback from the wider community


  • Information about the CLIVAR organization


  • Networking


  • Promotion of CLIVAR science


  • Chanel to monitor what wider community thinks about the project.

  • Current Facebook Terms of Use implies that all content uploaded to Facebook becomes the property of Facebook


  • Significant sensitive and personally identifiable information is maintained on Facebook and is relatively easily accessible. It is important to be sensitive to privacy issues, particularly of third parties such as colleagues, members of the public, etc.


  • Copyrighted material, such as photos and videos, should not be uploaded to Facebook without permission.


  • Posts interpreted as project opinion rather than communication of science issues.

  • Real time news management e.g. promoting science achievements and communicating news


  • Real time monitoring of science topics and news being discussed by the wider community.


  • Drive traffic to the CLIVAR website via tweets specifying a landing page on the website.


  • Can be a highly interactive way of engaging with a wider audience.

  • Disengaging audiences through automation of tweets, particularly the use of article headlines as tweets. Tweets should be written in informal language and paraphrased.


  • The possibility for other Twitter users to set up fake accounts and impersonate people to mislead the public.


  • Tweets interpreted as project opinion rather than communication of science issues.


  • Tweets may be misinterpreted due to their very short nature.

Table 1. Advantages and disadvantages to using social media.