In the 20th century, technology began to change rapidly, leading to an increase in the number of social media platforms. I remember the first few social platforms that got me hooked were Friendster, mIRC and ICQ, and I would get excited meeting new people from a different country.
Over the years, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram started to gain popularity and these platforms have facilitated effective spread of information to connect people globally. As these platforms are widely used by people of all walks of life, they can be used to educate people about science and technology.
The bridge between science and society
A scientific study is usually reviewed by a panel of reviewers and this process can take up to six months. Studies that are deemed credible and meaningful are published online and stored in a database called PubMed, a database which allows the public to get hold onto the articles.
However, most scientific articles contain information and images that are only easily deciphered by experienced scientists. This is where a bridge is required to translate these complex scientific data into easy information for general readers. Scientists can summarise the articles and present them as blogposts, and share these posts on social media to inform the general public about the findings.
A quick way to garner attention
One of the best ways to share posts is through Twitter, where a simple hashtag can enable us to share a specific story globally. We can assign keywords such as “#health”, “#science” and “#scicomm” (science communication) to the posts and by doing so, we will be able to get attention from users who are interested in these areas. We can also follow updates by companies or laboratories on Twitter to keep abreast of the latest scientific discoveries, which we can translate into information that is easily understood by the society. In fact, it is through Twitter that I got to know about the interstitium, a newly discovered organ, and the antibacterial features of platypus milk.
One of the ways to communicate science to the society is by showcasing your journey as a scientist through Instagram – just like blog! After all, people find it easier to relate to a topic and situation by looking at images. Facebook, a relatively more “casual” platform, is also great for informing our friends about some awesome scientific discoveries. Science has also acknowledged the influence of social media through the use of the Almetric attention score, a measure of public attention gained through (but not limited to) blog posts and Twitter.
An effective tool to build network
Occasionally, science and technology is better communicated to general public in person. We can do this through Facebook, where we can create events to allow people to come together to share and learn new information. This is also a great way to build network!
If you are more interested in connecting to people that share similar scientific research and background with you, you will want to get hold of LinkedIn, a platform where you can showcase your experiences and achievements. It is also a great platform for job hunt, as companies and recruiters look for potential employees through LinkedIn.
In a nutshell…..
With the rise in the number of social media users, it is a great opportunity to use a range of social media platforms to reach out to people about science. It can be about science jokes, conference updates, or new scientific discoveries. Regardless of what type of information they are, it is always exciting to share science stories and new discoveries.