I was thrilled to be invited to the OceansOnline conference, which was held in conjunction with the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John's, Newfoundland in August. I led a discussion on Incorporating digital storytelling in marine science outreach and communication, and spoke about my current work with Delaware Sea Grant, including Project VIDEO, our joint work with the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations.
We touched on everything from social media platforms, to using images and video in outreach efforts, to embracing new technologies such as virtual reality.
Here are a few ideas and tips from the session that I pulled together after the session for the newsletter of Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM):
- When it comes to social media, you don’t have to do it all! Take some time to “lurk” on various platforms to see how they’re used and what audiences tend to use them, then experiment on a few to see what might be the best fit for your field or organization.
- Social media isn’t a one-way street – that’s why “social” is in its name! Don’t just use it to push out information – engage with other users and your followers, share information that’s relevant to your field or community, and have fun with it!
- Images are truly worth 1,000 words online. Images drive engagement and an eye-catching photo, animated gif, or video clip can serve as a great “hook” to grab users’ attention in a sea of social media posts. Photos showing action, hands-on activities, or a detailed view of a critter or landscape can be particularly effective.
- Post with purpose. You should always be able to connect your social media posts, whether they are a photo, link, or shared information, back to your work or organization’s mission. This helps to build your reputation as a trusted resource in your field.
- Short format videos that are popular on platforms like Instagram are perfect vehicles for bite-sized, sharable science pieces. Use them to share fun “Did you know…” facts, highlight specific areas of work or critters being studied, or show scientific techniques.
- And most importantly – don’t be afraid to experiment online. Try something new, assess how it works, tweak your approach if necessary, and try again!
If you’re interested in learning more about this, my Prezi presentation from the session is full of examples >>