On Saturday, 9th November partnered with STEMAfrica to hold the first social media 101 workshop of it’s kind. The aim of the event was to highlight the importance of social media the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Many students in taking various STEM courses in local universities and professionals in the field attended the event.
The morning session by Nanjala Sambuli kicked off with a quick survey on what kind of tools are used in Social Media. Most of the audience used Facebook, a couple used Twitter and none used Podcast. However, most of their universities and clubs did maintain blogs that they mostly used to announce events.
One of the points noted is that there is a lot of information out there in the STEM fields, from HOWTO videos on YouTube, websites like Newbiehack and open science blogs. It was found out that very few students have conducted research by reading scientific publications. However, one Civil Engineeringstudent had conducted a research on civil research, procedures and methodologies used in buildings.
How can STEM work be put out on social media
There are several ways that STEM findings, projects, research can be put out there in a way that is enticing.
The three main ways are:-
- Sharing a discovery from research
- Having daily discussions on STEM topics like why do we have potholes on our road
- Scientists should be open enough to share our their findings because someone else is curious what they know.
Blogs can be utilized as tools to share your research, work and passion depending on your field or area of interest. The following guidelines should help a beginner to start a blog:-
- What do you find interesting?
- What is your passion?
- Find your unique voice, and also take of the visuals – presentation is everything!
- Join online forums and contribute to conversations on STEM topics.
- Use tools like Blogger, WordPress or Blogpost
For the afternoon session, Njeri Chelimo shared her experience using social media to set up a developer school in NairobI. Earlier this year, Njeri raised more than $20,000 through a crowdfunding campaign which she primarily promoted through social media. Njeri’s sharing was the start of a fun session where the participants grouped up and shared experiences of how they have utilized social media in their work and school.
Finally it can be seen that the internet has turned the world into a global village where a lot of information is shared among different people from different culture and background by utilizing different tools like Facebook and Twitter. Social media is about openness and young STEM professionals need to get out of the fear that their work can be stolen but instead they should find out what makes them curious and share it out to other people who are curious to also know what they know. Apart from being a good sources of information and also sharing, social media tools are also good for networking.Depending on who or what you follow, forums you take part in and groups you are part of they are also a good tool for building your professional network therefore enhancing your growth in your career.