You have a nicely baked research project, all set and ready to tempt the world. Then comes an afterthought. It needs some spice, decoration, and even more. As a young or mature scientist your work is often confined to a niche area, riddled with scientific jargon, and confined to intellectual circles. In the 21st century there is a way, or rather many ways to illuminate the hearts and minds of people about your unique scientific work. Here are a few nuggets of new and emerging techniques to harness the energy of social media. Emerge as a trailblazer in communicating and promoting your hidden treasure to the world!
Create an Infographic for your Social Media Page
Interact, interact, interact, now and in the future! Of course by now you have your own social media page on Facebook (FB), but there are ways you could the increase interaction with your work and hypotheses. Try using infographics, which are powerful visual communicators of your research. They are easy to create using software tools such as Visme, piktochart, Canva etc. Then try adding interactive links/buttons on your infographics to your website/surveys /publications/awards to offer even greater visibility of your work.
Create a Treasure House on Twitter
You can engage the public by using the hashtag: #your work. Then create micro nuggets with Twitter using the “special moments” option to highlight key areas and create short public opinion polls, follow people in your niche area, track analytics, find out your key interactors, and collaborate with other professionals. Soon you will emerge as a powerhouse of “knowledge sharing “
Create a Micro Poem/Minivideo/Mini Animation
You can create short visually interesting pieces about your work using mobile apps such as cartoon creator, minimovies maker, animemaker, etc. Then using interactive links post them to your social media pages, website, blogs etc. In this regard, micro poems are an emerging way of generating interest about your hypothesis and how it relates to the rest of humanity. The “mantra” for the 21 st century is interesting mini/micro nuggets of information.
Create a YouTube/ Video on Sharing Sites
Scientific information is pretty dense for non-scientists, and even sometimes for scientists as well. Not getting too many likes and follows? Alright, why not create a small dance item depicting your hypothesis and post it on YouTube. It definitely sparks interest in your work. You may have heard about the “Dance to Your PhD Contest” and many more. Yes, you do need some imagination, but need not be a Psy or Shakira personality! Of course having a wide circle of friends helps with such activities.
Create a Virtual World about your Scientific Work
Creating a virtual world about your scientific work can be done using sites such as Second Life. Using your avatar, you can collaborate and hold virtual symposiums, conferences, E posters, etc. Your website/FB page, etc. should also have links to your virtual world.
Use Live Video Streaming Around the World in Real Time
Live video streaming with an international audience is possible in real time using various free software such as Periscope mobile app. You can hold short informative sessions with your social media followers and groups. Responses are obtained in real time. It can also be incorporated on social media sites such as FB and Twitter.
Navigating the Tsunami of Social Media
At a very basic level, your email serves as a center point, informing you about all your social media updates. There are also social media managing software programs available. You should spend about 20 minutes a day, or a set amount of time each week for engagement with social media. However, the actual amount of time varies depending on your time constraints and commitments. Most importantly do track your analytics. Also review comments and follow through. And finally, expand your network to include the wider world, their values, and opinions.
There is an infinite ocean of knowledge out there. Communicate and unleash your creativity!