New York Blog

Science Online NYC (SoNYC) 9 – Beyond a Trend: Enhancing Science Communication with Social Media

On Thursday evening, we hosted the ninth instalment of the monthly Science Online NYC (SoNYC) discussion series. For this month’s SoNYC we teamed up with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) for a special event for Social Media Week.

The topic for debate this month was, “Beyond a Trend: Enhancing Science Communication with Social Media.”

As a communications tool, social media is an undeniably effective way to enhance your message. But within the science realm, top communicators – both academic and professional – strive to use social media for something greater: to engage the public in a conversation about science. Never before has it been so easy for researchers, public information officers, educators, students, and journalists to talk directly to the public about the benefits, limits, and implications of scientific knowledge. Social media not only makes these meaningful conversations possible, but it often also makes them fun and compelling. During this session, hear from scientists, communicators, and educators who use social media tools and the philosophy behind them to find creative, collaborative, and engaging learning opportunities.

Preparing for the event 

In anticipation of the discussion, we ran a series of guest posts here on Of Schemes and Memes, recounting experiences where social media has been a key part of a science education project. To start the discussions, Dr Alan Cann from Leicester University gave us an academic’s viewpoint on how social media can be used as part of the curriculum. Next we heard from Ben Lillie, co-founder of The Story Collider, revealing how social media can also be used to tell a science story. We then took a look at the, “This is what a scientist looks like” initiative, interviewing writer and multimedia specialist, Allie Wilkinson.

This month’s panel:

– American Museum of Natural History educators who are developing a “tool kit” of mobile apps, websites and more to help middle school students collect, share and present data on urban biodiversity

– Ben Lillie, the co-organizer of The Story Collider, which tells science stories by combining verbal narratives with podcasts, Twitter and an online magazine

– Matt Danzico, a BBC journalist who conducted a 365-day blog experiment called “The Time Hack” looking at how we perceive time

– Carl Zimmer, a science journalist whose latest book, Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed, is based on feedback he received on his Discover Magazine blog when he asked the question: are scientists hiding tattoos of their science?

– Moderator: Jennifer Kingson, day assignment editor, Science Department, The New York Times

To read what people on Twitter were saying about the event, check out our Storify of tweets at the bottom of this post.

Blog posts about the 9th #sonyc

Do let us know if you blog about the event and we’ll include a round-up of links here.

Social Media as Science Facilitator:  Write up in the Dana Foundation Blog

Live-streaming and video archiving

We live-stream each SoNYC event to give as many people as possible the chance to take part in the debate. Check out this month’s livestream, or take a look at our archives where you can view the previous meetings.

Finding out more

The next SoNYC will be held on March 20th and will be focused on deterring and detecting fraud in scientific publications.  Details will be announced soon – keep an eye on the SoNYC twitter account for more details and/or watch the #sonyc hashtag.

If you have a suggestion for a future panel or would be interested in sponsoring one of the events, please get in touch.


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