Today marks the beginning of Shark Week on Discovery Channel, a week-long event that will surely dominate the airwaves and Twittersphere. Growing up, I always loved Shark Week because it was interesting, entertaining, and educational. While these may still be accurate descriptors of certain aspects of Shark Week, it has, in recent years, gone from being an educational and entertaining event to, well, mostly entertaining. That’s not to say that Shark Week is a bad thing – it raises awareness and generates interest in the future of sharks, which is definitely a good thing. I’m also sure that this year’s programs will highlight some accurate, scientific information, but if recent trends continue, it is important for viewers to know the difference between Shark Week fact and fiction. For example, mermaids aren’t real and you’re not going to encounter Megalodon.
In an effort to help you navigate the waters between what’s real and what’s not, I’ll be turning my @newssharkonline Twitter account into a shark fact hub. Normally, this Twitter account is reserved for national and political news, but this week it’s going to be mostly about the sharks. Now, I’m not a scientist, so rather than just tell you what I know from the books and academic papers I’ve read, I’ll be relying on actual scientists to supply the information. Luckily, there’s a whole group of shark researchers who plan to tweet during the event, so I’ll primarily be retweeting them. If you’re interested in shark facts, rather than pseudoscience, let @newssharkonline be your central hub.