I’m going to start of today’s blog post with a quick apology. Lab life and all my other commitments got insanely busy over the last few weeks so we haven’t had a new Soph talks science blog post for 2 weeks now – so I’m sorry for putting my blog on the back burner with no prior warning or explanation.
But there’s no need to worry anymore because I’ve sorted my life out again and I am back on my blog schedule – at least for the next two weeks before I go on holiday 🙂 but there will still be blog posts coming during that time with some fabulous guest bloggers so watch this space for that!
But anyway – back to today! There has been a few reasons why my lab life got a bit out of control! I have started a brand new experiment with a technique that I have never done before so I have been doing a lot of practice and reading around that to make sure I get it right. I have also started to get the Pint of Science Southampton publicity ball rolling and I have become the admin for a BRAND NEW twitter page plus trying to find guest bloggers for while I’m away (I still have a few gaps if anyone else is interested?). All of this made me a bit crazy! But now it’s all under control again – I started thinking about whether I had taken on too much or whether I could be even more organised to stop it happening again. But it just made me realise again why I have signed up to all these things in addition to being in the lab studying for my PhD – it is all in the name of science communication or #scicomm! So I thought I could just write a quick update on all the scicomm activities I am involved with that can maybe inspire you to get involved or get involved in some scicomm activities of your own!
So, why am I interested in scicomm? For me, it is SO important to share science and scientific research with the public. Scientists are often stereotyped so I want to show that scientists are ‘normal’ people with ‘normal’ lives. I also think that science research is not portrayed accurately in the media – and although my little blog is not going to be seen by as many people as your daily newspaper, I feel it’s my duty to try and help this situation even a little by sharing the truth behind research and what it actually means so the public can make their own informed opinions about things rather than being forced into one opinion by articles they might read on the internet. But mostly just to try and get people interested and caring a little bit about science and what is going on in labs all over the world!
A previous Scientist in the Spotlight Karen R took over the @iamscicomm Twitter account earlier this year and spent one day talking about science side hustles using the hashtag #scihustle. So, I thought I would take this chance to update you on all my current #scihustles and why I am getting involved in them!
1.Pint of Science
So, anyone that follows me on social media probably already knows that I’m involved with the Pint of Science festival this year in Southampton. This is the first time I’ve been involved with it and am really looking forward to our festival in May.
So, for anyone that doesn’t know – Pint of Science is a science festival that happens in pubs across the UK and even in other countries such as France and Spain. The main aim is to make current scientific research more accessible to the public and I can’t think of a better place than the pub. I imagine most people find the thought of talking to scientists about their research slightly intimidating – perhaps because you might be visiting them in their natural habitat – the lab – or perhaps because you don’t have an interest in science or maybe you just simply don’t understand the jargon we use. Well – Pint of Science is bringing scientific researchers out of the lab and into an environment that you feel more comfortable in. They will still be talking about their research but in a fun and engaging way that everyone can understand.
So, although I am not speaking at the festival, it is my job to make sure there are people at the events to listen to these researchers and the fascinating research that they do. If you’re in Southampton or the surrounding area in May this year check out our Facebook event here to get tickets and see what is in store for you this May! Anyone else can head to http://www.pintofscience.co.uk to find an event near you!
I have got involved in this festival because I want to learn how other researchers present their work to the public so I can get some helpful hints and tips that might help me and also because working as one of the publicists for the event is going to give me some great additional media skills and knowledge that might come in useful for the development of Soph talks science or when I’m looking for a job after my PhD.
My second #scihustle is a Science Bloggers Database. There is a list of science blogs from basically every field from biology, to conservation, to physics, to teaching and all in between. If you are a science blogger or thinking about starting a science blog then head over to our Twitter account @SciBlogHub to find our database and find new science blogs for some inspiration.
We have also started a new feature – a weekly Twitter chat every Wednesday where one of our science bloggers hosts #scibloghubchat and starts a conversation about different aspects of scicomm – so far we have had tips about blogging, starting a science podcasts and even chat about elevator pitches and selling your research! Make sure you don’t miss that as you can ask experienced scicommers so many questions about their research or even tips about getting started in scicomm.
I could not turn down this opportunity as another part of what we do is retweeting new blogs posts of anyone that tags us on Twitter. This allows any science blogger to reach a wider audience through our followers. SciBlogHub is a tool to promote your blog, a tool to find new blogs to follow whether you are a scientist or not and a tool to learn and discuss scicomm with our weekly chat. All of these things were going to benefit me and my blog – an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.
If you want to apply to host #scibloghubchat, browse our database for cool new blogs to follow or just get in contact with us, head over to our website www.scibloghub.com to get all that info and more. And if your science blog is not part of the database, watch out for the next opportunity to add your name to our list coming soon!
3. Soph talks science vlog
Okay – so this one is not real! But it is something I am looking into starting – a Soph talks science vlog – or video blog! During my short spell of science blogging I have fallen in love with writing about something that I love and sharing my life as a scientist with you! But as I’ve integrated more and more into the scicomm and science blogger community I have realised that maybe I am missing a trick to grow my audience! The popularity of using videos -whether that is through a YouTube channel or using live videos such as those on Instagram and Facebook.
Last year my PhD supervisor asked me to help them out with a promo video for a new MRes course they were setting up. I know that it is not the same as hosting my own science video blog but marketing lady who was doing all the recording and editing just kept telling me how friendly and approachable I looked on camera. A great confidence boost for me! But with the growing popularity of videos in scicomm combined with this confidence boost, it got me thinking – maybe I could host a science vlog. What the content would be at the moment I’m not sure – would you prefer to see different science concepts explained or would it be a good thing to make my scientist life that bit more real and exciting with moving picture? Or maybe a mix of both is best?
I am still umming and arrghing about what the best move for this is – so if you are a science vlogger and would be keen to help me out then please contact me 🙂 It is something I am really excited to get started – would you be interested in watching a video more than reading a blog? Let me know! After all – I will develop different media skills for myself but it’s no good if you guys don’t want to watch it!
I sense a bit of a theme with my #scihustles – science and pubs 😛
Again this is another one that is in the development and idea stage. PubHD is another project that gets scientists into the pub to talk about their research. There are already different teams set up in a variety of countries across the UK and Ireland but not here in Southampton – so I may be embarking on a journey to set one up here – so watch this space!
There are so many other scicomm activities happening that I would love to get involved in – but unfortunately lab work is getting more hectic and trying to keep on top of that whilst managing the commitments I already have leaves no time for anything else unfortunately 😦 Maybe in next year’s update some would have been swapped in for new opportunities.
What scicomm activities are you involved with or what do you want to get involved in and why did you get involved in the first place?