Collectively social media has an astronomical level of power and influence. Since its inception social media has grown in leaps and bounds. Born from humble origins, merely as a tool to allow users to stay in touch with each other, over time social media has spawned into a global institution, allowing whole communities, businesses and individuals to engage with each other. Simply put social media is the superlative form of interaction available today. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly social media is the fastest form of communication. Secondarily social media is the easiest way to send, share and receive information or content. Finally social media is an explosive hot bed, from which stem current cultural trends and increasingly groundbreaking news.
Millions of people all over the world are constantly sharing an extremely wide range of fascinating, quirky, funny, irrelevant and important content all at once. Even scientists are no strangers to this trend. Social media has enabled them to communicate their research quickly and efficiently throughout each corner of the world. But which social media platforms are they using to communicate this research and how are they using them? One thing is clear: the range of social media platforms that scientists are using is relatively vast and dependent on discipline and sentiment. While the future of social media is unknown, a combination of educated speculation and persuasive fact points to the industry’s continual growth and influence. Thus, is that not only are scientists utilizing social media to communicate their research, they must. The ability to communicate to the masses via social media is critical to the distribution of scientific information amongst professionals in the field and to the general population.
Science communication has evolved into an essential part of the public outreach and education programmes of many scientific organisations. Where television documentaries and public exhibitions were once relied upon for these aims, social media platforms have now brought new opportunities for scientists and communicators to interact with their audiences. Scientists at NASA have been creating and sharing innovative photos and videos for educational purposes, and today they continue to innovate on photo- and video-driven social media platforms like Face book and Instagram. NASA’s science communication has inspired us across the generations: from live international TV broadcasts of historic mission launches to using social media to allow students to interact directly with astronauts in the Space Station.
For scientists, access to these new forms of media opens up channels of communication that were undreamed of. Scientific findings can be transmitted around the world immediately. People with shared research interests form communities not limited by time and space.
With warm regards
Shashank Kr. Dwivedi
Editor, Technical Today