How to communicate science on social media

Posted on Aug 09, 2017
Share

In the world of smartphones, tablets, and technology on the move, social media has become the source of information for a variety of topics. Scientists are increasingly using this platform to connect with other researchers to discuss their findings and further innovation. Social media is helping science move from laboratories to discussion forums fostering a culture of healthy exchange of ideas.

Various reports and articles have appeared on the challenges faced by the scientific community in terms of introverted personalities, jargon and technical terms, lack of scientific knowledge among the public and keeping knowledge secret. While there is no magic pill to address these challenges, there are some easy solutions that social media provides to bridge the gap between academia and the industry, the public as well as building connections within the academic world itself.

Quick guide to basic social media for STEM professionals

Twitter

Twitter allows unlimited 140 character posts, which can be embedded with pictures, videos, live streams or polls. Using relevant hashtags, researchers can share their research findings or engage with fellow academicians. They can use polls to further their research or seek feedback from the industry.

Instagram

Instagram lets users post pictures and videos with captions, or live stream video. Science professors and researchers alike are using this platform to showcase their work and engage with their audience through visual appeal.

YouTube

A free service that allows registered users to upload and share videos. This platform is heavily used by STEM professionals to showcase their work. The visual depiction of information helps the audience understand clearly and thereby enabling better engagement.

Podcasts

Podcasts are radio shows that are never played on the radio. They are uploaded to the iTunes store or Soundcloud, and available for free download by anyone at any time. STEM professionals are known to host regular discussions on various topics through podcasts enabling healthy and focused conversations.

Blogs

Short for Web log; a blog is a publicly accessible webpage that provides commentary on a particular subject or theme. A researcher or company can utilise this platform to discuss their research and seek feedback from their audiences.

Earth and Science News had published an interesting article on ‘Science Communication in the Post-Expert Digital Age’ in 2014, that captured a growing need for this industry – “Scientists and science communicators need to expand their mindset from simply reporting facts to joining diverse conversations.”

The article had further stated that “To open up new lines of conversation across ideological divisions, science communicators need to focus on developing strategies to join and initiate conversations that start with people, not science.”

That is where we come in. At PR Associates, we help in translating scientific facts into meaningful conversations. Ask us how.

By

Ambika Maitra,  a social media and PR expert for STEM professionals at PR Associates

Newsletter Signup