Outreach Is a Skill: a Q&A with David “WhySharksMatter” Shiffman

Photo credit: Ryan Espanto. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

If you are interested in sharks, and spend any time on social media, you have probably run across David Shiffman. Shiffman, a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Simon Fraser University, has drawn thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook by sharing facts (and correcting misconceptions) about sharks and other marine species.

But while his social media feeds can be entertaining, they are not simply a collection of amusing facts. Through social media, blogging, and freelance writing, Shiffman has been able to share information (and his own research) with a large audience – and to place that information in the proper context.

We recently had the opportunity to pick his brain about science communication, how he got started, and how social media can benefit the research community. Continue reading “Outreach Is a Skill: a Q&A with David “WhySharksMatter” Shiffman”

Advertisements

Altmetrics, ‘Altmetric,’ and Science Communication

Photo credit: Todd Eddy. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more info.
Photo credit: Todd Eddy. Shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more info.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Iara Vidal, a Ph.D. student based in Brazil whose work focuses on altmetrics and scholarly communication. If you’re curious about altmetrics, or how they may be relevant to science communication, read on.

Being overwhelmed by information is not a new phenomenon, but it is a very real problem. We struggle to keep up to date with all the discoveries, papers, and books in our fields of interest. It often seems as though new fields of study, methods, and/or tools are created every month. Buzzwords are all around, and it can be hard to know if there’s anything useful behind the buzz.

One of these buzzwords is altmetrics. Continue reading “Altmetrics, ‘Altmetric,’ and Science Communication”

How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter

Image credit: Sean MacEntee. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Image credit: Sean MacEntee. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

Social media are used to connect with people and share information, so it is not surprising that reporters are using social media platforms in their work – connecting with sources and collecting information are fundamental aspects of journalism. A recent paper offers insights into how, and to what extent, newspaper journalists are using Facebook and Twitter in their reporting. Continue reading “How U.S. Reporters Are Using Facebook, Twitter”

Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online

Image credit: GotCredit. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Image credit: GotCredit. Retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people are often wrong on the internet. This can manifest itself in the form of conspiracy theories, inaccurate information related to breaking news, or misleading (or just plain wrong) information related to science and research. Sometimes inaccurate information is annoying, or even comical. Sometimes, however, inaccurate information can have serious consequences – such as online memes that mislead people about public health issues or when news reports say that an innocent person is the perpetrator of a mass shooting. Continue reading “Working Toward a Tool to Help Us Understand How Misinformation Spreads Online”

Science and Community Engagement: an Interview with Lou Woodley

Photo credit: Niall Kennedy. Image retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.
Photo credit: Niall Kennedy. Image retrieved via Flickr and shared under a Creative Commons license. Click for more information.

On Nov. 3, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) announced a new fellowship program focused on community engagement in the science community. This makes me curious. Continue reading “Science and Community Engagement: an Interview with Lou Woodley”

Try and Be Clever: an Interview with BrainCraft’s Vanessa Hill

BrainCraft logo. Image coutesy of Vanessa Hill.
BrainCraft logo. Image coutesy of Vanessa Hill.

I first met Vanessa Hill in early 2014 while touring a forensic anthropology lab in North Carolina. At the time, she was working for Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and had recently launched a web series called BrainCraft that explored issues related to psychology and neuroscience. Continue reading “Try and Be Clever: an Interview with BrainCraft’s Vanessa Hill”