I am always looking for people who share a passion for science and genuinely want to get others excited about it too, which is one of the main reasons I’m studying science communication. While I was in D.C. for the Science Online Climate Conference, I stayed with my friend Steph who introduced me to Wendy Corrales via Facebook. She showed me her videos and I was cracking up.
These would be perfect for my blog!
After messaging her and chatting about ways to make science fun she agreed to let me post her Instagram science lessons on this blog (which I posted on YouTube for embedding purposes).
In the science world or the “nerd loop” (a term I learned while at the conference) many of us do use and are proficient at using social media, but are we really being effective communicators to those outside our circle?
Although Wendy was afraid that other scientists would accuse her of oversimplifying complex processes, maybe her 15 second videos are a clue into how to engage today’s ADD social media user. Of course, these videos are meant to spark interest and create a laugh, not to take the place of a college lecture, which is why she also provided more links for those who are inspired to learn more about her first lesson: RABIES!
What made you start making these videos?
I think I was just kind of sitting in my car one day thinking about respiration and how amazing the process is, and just grabbed my phone and thought, Everyone needs to know this! And from there, I started making them whenever a cool thought about how the body works popped into my head. They also help my learning. I think if you can explain something in 15 seconds, you definitely have a good grasp on the subject.
Why did you choose Instagram as a platform?
Instagram is just convenient. I usually make these videos when I have a few minutes to myself, waiting in my car for something or waiting for class to start or something like that. It takes less than a minute and I think that’s why I did it on Instagram initially.
What do you hope they will accomplish?
I’d like to be able to teach my friends, or anyone watching them something interesting. I would also like to maybe pique someone’s interest enough to go do a bit of research on the subject on their own and possibly learn something. At the very least I suppose, I’d like to get someone to think Whoah. That was cool. Science is cool! A girl can dream. Also, like I mentioned, they help my learning. So, I’m accomplishing that.
What subjects are you planning to make videos on? At the moment I’m focusing on physiological processes like breathing, immunity, muscle contraction, etc. I’d like to do some on the heart, because the heart is incredible. Maybe some on blood, because it’s pretty mind-blowing. And the brain of course. Apart from anatomy and physiology, I’d like to do some astrophysics. Nothing too in depth because I’m not an astrophysicist, but the cosmos have always blown my mind and it would be cool to share. Maybe some on new biotechnologies, because science is doing some pretty ground breaking things that people should know about.
Would you consider making longer videos or using other social media platforms?
I’d love to make a youtube channel. Fifteen seconds is not enough time to explain some of these things, and as a result have to really oversimplify some of these subjects. If I had a few more seconds I think I could make them a bit more accurate, and add some more mind-blowing facts. At the moment I’m having to use words or phrases that aren’t completely accurate, just because they’re shorter. So that’s definitely something I’d like to do if I decide to put more time into these. At the moment though, just Instagram.
If you enjoyed Wendy’s videos and want to learn more about Rabies, check out the links she has suggested below:
Find more of her videos using the Instagram handle @wendyomgzlol or the hashtag #anatomylessonsbywendy. I will also be posting them periodically on here with posts to clarify on some of the oversimplifications.
Innovative science communicators: I need your help!
If you know of anyone who is using funny, catchy or innovative methods to communicate science refer them to me, I would love to discuss it on my blog. I am currently working on a series of science lessons using hula hoops, but unfortunately the woes of graduate school are prolonging that idea.