I’ve downloaded some trial software and made a short (about 3:30) video below for my own education and to practice editing and using AfterEffects. Because of time pressures, I went with a topic related to my woodworking hobby so I didn’t have to think too hard about the script. I thought it more important to generate some footage to play with, although I did try to assemble a coherent storyboard and text to guide the shooting and maintain continuity.
Due to the limitations of my equipment (above) and shooting environment—and those of being both the camera crew and the…erm… “talent”— I likewise didn’t put tons of effort into lighting, color balance or sound recording. Obviously these are important to the LSI position, but given my scheduling I wanted to prioritize getting adequate material to practice assembling the video and audio tracks.
The editing and effects software share a lot of similarities with other software I’ve used, such as Photoshop, Flash, and other Adobe products. Both are pretty complex, but seem constructed in a way that allows for quick entry. I feel like I could become effective with these programs pretty quickly.
Here’s the video. Password: chesky
Some thoughts on Twitter
I did a bit of research online about science Twitter, and looked over your account for a bit. Here are a few quick thoughts I had.
Some studies, (or possibly multiple citations of the same study) indicate that at below around 1,000 followers, scientific Twitter followers tend to be other scientists; at around 1,000 they often flip to being majority general public, or at least non-scientists, and the account’s reach grows more quickly after that. Your follower count is getting close to that number, as I’m sure you know.
You probably have some analytics accounts you can reference for more accurate data, but just scanning your follower lists, the vast majority of those that show profile information seem to be scientists and/or students of some sort. I didn’t see very many journalists or governmental followers.
I was initially wondering if an effort targeting politicians or government agency personnel might lead to more awareness of what you’re doing, and possibly help in securing grants or other funding. This study finds that for most scientists on Twitter, that particular audience is typically very small, however. Above a certain threshold (about 2200 followers) it sounds like that group starts to be more engaged, but the authors suggest that social media might best be thought of as support for other outreach rather than a primary tool.
You mentioned on the phone that one goal was to help other UM departments understand the LSI resources available to them. I doubt scientists like to share work in progress, but I wonder if there is a way to periodically showcase capabilities of the LSI for both the internal UM audience and the outside world, by using certain laboratories or technologies as examples of how teams are exploiting specific capabilities. Perhaps speaking in broad terms about what is being done, e.g. “this scientist is using our cryo-electron microscopy lab to research X but it’s also useful/available for things like A, B and C” (without revealing proprietary research details).
There are currently a couple of postings for marketing/communications positions in the Engineering School that have a significant social media component. I got to wondering if the UM in general, or the science/engineering/nerdy departments have any kind of resources or working groups that share best practices or work together in some way to enhance both their individual presence, and that of the U.
Every department in the University is trying to do this, of course, but do the sciences have enough unique needs that some coordination would be helpful?