On Friday 27 September, CERN welcomed 12 citizen journalists to the 2013 CERN Tweetup, an event where a select few people from around the world had the opportunity to take a private tour of CERN and share their experiences with their followers on Twitter.
The participants were hand picked from almost 100 applicants and hailed from seven countries and a wide range of careers – from scientists and engineers to designers and filmmakers. The successful applicants were all active Twitter users with followings on social media beyond their friends and family, and who had expressed a sincere interest in CERN science.
“Through the social media posts sent out by these visitors with the hashtag #CERNtweetup, we saw that a total of 2000 people actively participated online, reaching a potential worldwide audience of 2.3 million,” says Kate Kahle, CERN's social media manager.
In addition to 12 people on the tweetup tour, CERN was unexpectedly graced with the presence of Camilla Corona – a NASA mascot and the first rubber chicken in space. Throughout the day Camilla tweeted to her almost 10,000 Twitter followers with the help of fellow tweeter, Alex Neumann from Germany.
The day was filled with surprises for the participants, including exclusive previews of the Open-Day visit points and chance meetings with theorists including John Ellis. The tweeters also received a firsthand account of the birth of the World Wide Web and the early days of the internet from Ben Segal and François Flückiger and exclusive seats at the Origins 2013 European Researchers’ Night event. Even after the tweetup officially ended, many of the participants stayed through the CERN Open Days and continued to share pictures and answer questions for their followers.
"The visitors were incredibly active throughout the day and really provided a vehicle for their followers to participate in the event through them," says Kahle. "We were delighted by their enthusiasm."