#SciFund Challenge Self-Guided Class

Connecting people to your science with Instagram

Part 1: Why Instagram?

Why should we care about using visual platforms such as Instagram to share our science or experiences as People of Science? One reason is that Instagram in particular is a very popular social network, especially among younger audiences. But another reason is more fundamental to the nature of visuals.

We care about sharing science through a visual platform like Instagram because visuals like photographs, selfies, videos, and infographics are a universal language - there’s a reason people say that seeing is believing. Visuals can capture people’s attention and draw people into stories in ways that words often don’t. Visuals, such as selfies, have the power to make people more human and relatable (important for science types, since it is little known that we are - in fact - actual humans). Some of the most powerful visuals are those that are perceived by viewers as natural, unposed moments of human interactions and experiences, such as the in-the-moment imagery of a researcher who just found something amazing in the field.

The human brain can actually process visual information more quickly than it processes text – up to 60 times faster. Visuals can be persuasive, extremely memorable, and have strong emotional impact on their viewers. That’s why we plot our data or make infographics instead of just presenting a list of numbers. It is much easier and faster to understand information this way!

When it comes to science communication, visuals can be a very powerful tool to help people understand complex scientific concepts and to help science, and scientists, become more accessible and relatable. As you shoot video and photos you will want to establish a strong human connection or show things in a level of detail that can be difficult to express in words. How exactly do you that? Read on, valiant reader!