The NIEHS Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL) gives a variety of sources and providers to advertise the groundbreaking work of institute scientists and grant recipients. Maybe nowhere is that this extra evident than in using social media.

Christine Bruske Flowers Flowers serves as NIEHS chief advisor on worldwide protocol, group engagement, and data sharing to construct help and cooperation for the institute’s mission. (Picture courtesy of Steve McCaw)

“Social media has undergone an enormous transformation within the final decade — from being a platform the place individuals share widespread pursuits, to turning into a full-fledged information supply for thousands and thousands of individuals all over the world,” stated OCPL Director Christine Bruske Flowers. “As science communicators, it’s our job to take our message the place the general public can discover it. Immediately, that’s on Fb and Twitter.”

Greater not all the time higher

In keeping with Flowers, organizations have a tendency to ascertain a footprint on as many social networks as attainable to maximise message attain. That’s not all the time a clever technique, in her opinion.

“Sustaining an efficient presence on any social community requires time and diligence,” Flowers stated. “If an company has the sources to handle a number of networks, then it will probably definitely be helpful to take action. Our institute, with a comparatively small social media employees, has discovered larger success by being intentional with our posts on fewer networks.”

At current, OCPL manages NIEHS accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The workplace maintains a YouTubechannel for sharing movies of scientific talks and group outreach occasions.

“Proper now, Fb is the eight-hundred-pound gorilla of the social media world,” Flowers stated. “We’ve discovered our Fb web page to be extraordinarily efficient at sharing issues like information updates, data on becoming a member of analysis research, and well being schooling sources. Against this, Twitter and LinkedIn are glorious platforms for participating scientists and those that obtain federal analysis grants.”

Becoming a member of communities, not billboards

One other key component of a profitable social media technique is to be aware of those distinctions when posting content material. “Each social community represents a novel group of individuals with their very own language, cultures, and means of interacting,” stated NIEHS Digital Content material Coordinator Sheena Scruggs, Ph.D.

“What works on Fb, for example, hardly ever works on Twitter, which hardly ever works on Snapchat or Instagram. Many customers get irritated when social media managers fail to respect these variations, which inevitably results in an entire lot of unfollows.” One of the simplest ways to keep away from these pitfalls is to spend time attending to know every platform and its members, she defined.

Sheena Scruggs, Ph.D. Scruggs arrived at NIEHS in 2018 and works extensively with the NIEHS Division of Extramural Analysis, in addition to the Division of the Nationwide Toxicology Program. (Picture courtesy of Nationwide Human Genome Analysis Institute)

“Hashtags are an enormous a part of Twitter,” Scruggs stated. “They’re how customers observe what’s being stated within the collective dialog about subjects like autism or ladies’s well being. To that finish, we’ve begun utilizing our personal hashtags, like #NIEHSfunded and #NIEHSresearch, to assist our followers entry our content material.”

OCPL is growing visible components of its content material by producing customized graphics for information tales and scientific papers. The workplace additionally makes use of the Reddit platform holding Ask Me Something classes with scientists and grant recipients (see story).

A mission to serve

No matter community, etiquette, or viewers, the widespread theme uniting the NIEHS social media footprint is OCPL’s dedication to sharing high quality, well-crafted data based mostly on first-rate science.

“On the finish of the day, the mission of our institute is to raised perceive how the surroundings impacts individuals so we will help them get pleasure from more healthy lives,” Flowers stated. “Offering our followers with every day content material that’s well timed and related is likely one of the some ways we will help them do this.”

(Ian Thomas is a public affairs specialist with NIEHS OCPL and a daily contributor to the Environmental Issue.)

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