Blogs and Tweets in Science: the Solution to My Struggle

As a scientist, in training, I have always struggled with making people understand the relevance of the animal research that I participate in. When I converse with the general public I feel like the final conclusion at the other end of the conservation is usually: “oh nice so you work with animals, that is so cool”. But I was actually trying to communicate more than that. I want people to know the type of work I do with those animals and why it is useful for animal conservation and possibly humans. Therefore, I have asked myself… How to can I break that barrier? and How to do it effectively?

Last semester I found one answer to this problem in the Preparing for Future Professoriate class… to communicate science effectively, I need to make my story personal and eliminate any jargon from the conversation.

More recently, I have been finding other pieces that help answer my questions… I have been in graduate school for several years and probably people, who are not trained in science, can not grasp what I am trying to say in a quick conversation. So, how about I start communicating with people in a written media that is free, readily accessible in most countries, and I can explain in a few words what I do. In other words I am talking about blogging. Blogging would allow me to share, with anybody exploring the web, in simple terms what I do. It does not have to be only words; a short video illustrating an example or something similar could be added to the post.

At the same time, for the audience that likes to be more connected, other social media such as twitter, could be even a better fit for me. Through twitter, I can answer quick questions and direct people to other links to find more information. Furthermore, I can use pictures to accentuate a point or further engage the audience.

I am planning on creating a new blog and start twitting more about my research to let the world know what I do. I hope to update you all on my journey to the current trend of blogging and twitting about science and my profession.

4 thoughts on “Blogs and Tweets in Science: the Solution to My Struggle”

  1. I completely agree with your assessment on how communicating animal research to the general public is quite difficult. Being from agriculture, I find not only the research to be difficult to communicate, but just the general processes of food production to be difficult to communicate, as most people do not have agriculture experience. It is really hard to bridge that gap. I too think that blogging has an opportunity to break down those barriers and hopefully we can educate the public about these sciences.

  2. Communicating with the general public hasn’t been terribly difficult for me because I work in transportation. Transportation is something everyone uses – its large and easy to relate to. My fiance is a chemist, no one understands her work. When she tries to verbally explain what she does she is often met with blank stares, I think that using social media and other platforms that would allow for more simplistic explanation of her work would be a good way for her to explain her work to others in an informal way.

  3. You guys make a great point. Also, not only think that it will be easier to communicate, but easier to engage with other people with similar or different interest to yours.

    For example, young generations will be more likely to connect and engage with what you do if you are using a platform where they are all the time. This not only will make them understand the importance of what you do, but also to make them get interested and consider your field as an option from them professionally.

    In addition, connecting and making understand your research to people that is not related to your field, brings great value to develop interdisciplinary collaboration.

    Cheers,

    Homero

  4. Homero makes a good point. The information delivery platform is only useful if it can reach others. I started a blog about my research and was slowly trickling the link out to others. The idea was I would do a big launch with some collaborators to start a citizen science project. It never really got off of the ground because of my committee, but I am looking forward to revamping it and making it a useful resource. One of the things you can do is change some of your options about “search engines” then your subject can be easily found. Ultimately, I think it would be useful for a place like VT to showcase some of the research driven websites that students and faculty generate. Tweeting may just be a great way to get exposure for your posts! #mycollegetweets

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