Sure, we thought we'd get a few drops, maybe even some wind damage. But the SciArt Tweet Storm is turning out to be a Great Red Spot-sized hurricane.

Click the image to go to the SciArt Tweet Storm announcement and read tips for tweeting effectively.

Longer analysis of stats and impact will have to wait until the #SciArt Tweet Storm is over - the plan is to calm down March 7th - but here's a quick check in.

Stats from Topsy, comparing #scicomm (in orange; the popular science communication hashtag) with #sciart (blue) over the past month or so:

On Monday, 4,893 tweets were shared with the #SciArt hashtag; the first 3 days have totaled 11,695 tweets! Image generated from Topsy.com.

If you'll recall, I was hoping we would get maybe 1,600 tweets a day. Instead, Monday and Tuesday had over 4,000 each!

For a more serious look at numbers and connections, scicomm blogger Kirk Englehardt put us in touch with Marc Smith of Connected Action. Marc graciously did the work and here's a look at the first ~24 hours of the Tweet Storm. Y'know, before it got busy.

Thanks so much to Marc Smith and Connected Action! Click the image to see a larger version on their site.

That graph depicts 2,227 users whose tweets contained the term #sciart.

The Tweet Storm has also received boosts from a number of blogs, including posts from Mad Art Lab, scientific illustrator Mieke Roth, econnect and Scientific American's Image of the Week. I've spoken to another journalist already and will include more updates with an end-of-week analysis. And our friends at The Finch & Pea are ambitiously tweeting their entire collection of over 180 sciart blog posts!

If there is a goal to this event, it is to get scientifically useful and scientifically provocative visual art in front of editors, journalists and researchers. If you're an artist participating, make sure you are tagging a second hashtag relevant to your artwork in your tweets. It's fun when other artists see it, but it's better for everyone if you make connections in scientific fields.

Another aspect of the Tweet Storm I didn't see coming was the outpouring of gratitude and joy from so many people - Twitter is gaining a reputation as an outrage machine, and I think many people are opening up a column with the #sciart hashtag and feeling thankful for the respite and inspiration.

Next time I will include some actual tweets with artwork - promise!

You know that flat little blue-line breezing along on the Topsy graph up above? The way the #sciart hashtag used to hum quietly before the Tweet Storm? Let's never let ourselves be that quiet again.

Science matters. Images matter. Chocolate & peanut butter, people.

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See the #SciArt Tweet Storm here. And remember, keep up the momentum until March 7th!