Meet The Creators is a new blog post series that I want to highlight and showcase content creators who inspire me. This series will range from people making Youtube videos, Twitch Streamers, Photographers, Podcasts. All the people I aim to interview inspire and motivate me in their passion and drive towards their subject and content.
Starting the series I was able to get the chance of interviewing a fellow Belfast based content creator Dr Mike. Mike is a science communicator focusing mainly on Twitter and on his weekly podcast. We can always stand to learn something new and with Dr Mike and his content, the information while high level in scientific terms is dealt with and created with a widespread audience in mind and with his friendly welcoming presence we can all become a little smarter.
I had the chance to ask him a few questions around his work and what is involved in the creation of his podcasts.
Hi Mike, can you let us know where we can find you online:
You’re heavily involved in SciComm, can you give us a brief runthrough of what this is?
Science communication or ‘SciComm’ is generally used when science-related topics are communicated to the public or ‘non-experts’. It is usually carried out by professional scientists or someone with a strong science background. It’s becoming its own field with jobs becoming more and more common across the world. My Co-host for my Podcast, Dr. Karen Ring, is a full-time science communicator on the west coast of USA, specializing in stem cell technology. In order to communicate science to the masses, scientists have to adopt different techniques to engage with their audience; this may involve entertainment/humour/storytelling/metaphors/analogies etc.
Within the science world blogging is a widely adopted medium, what made you want to start your podcast and become more active within the community as opposed to just part of the audience.
I originally began blogging on my site because I wanted to hone my own academic writing style mixed with public communication of science. I then quickly switched over to Podcasting as it was a favourite medium of mine and I wanted to give it a go. Once I got a few episodes done, I felt more relaxed and knew this was how I mainly wanted to engage with people for SciComm. Unfortunately, that meant that my blog posts took a back seat; I will, however, hopefully get back to writing some science blog posts in the future.
How do you find inspiration for topics to discuss?
Usually about a week before the next podcast episode, I will discuss what story/topic I want to do with my Co-host. We share science articles to discuss with one another and then reach a decision about which one would be the most entertaining or interesting to talk about.
What type of entertainment mediums do you enjoy in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy watching movies (mostly Marvel, I love the Avenger movies!), playing video games (always been a big gamer!) and photography (I could talk for hours about it!).
Do you have a preferred social media platform to help connect with your audience?
Twitter is definitely my preferred medium for connecting with my audience. I feel it has the largest outreach and provides an easy way to get in contact with new people and share science news/topics. Other social media (apps) have been used by others successfully but I haven’t found their appeal as great as Twitter (…yet).
Do you find it hard to fit it into your lifestyle?
I am an avid tweeter and I always have my phone with me so I don’t find it hard at all. I think when you are passionate about something, you will always find time to do it, because you love it! Modern technology makes things like tweeting easier than ever – the amount of engagement you can get from one tweet is simply amazing.
In a spin on the old ideal dinner guests questions, who would be your 3 ideal guest to have feature/collaborate with on your podcast?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. There are so many brilliant people I have come into contact with on Twitter that I think I would need a rather large round table to accommodate everyone! I wouldn’t mind having an episode dedicated to SciCommers from different mediums (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc.). That way, we could all talk about the positive aspects each medium brings to the world of SciComm.
If you had unlimited time and budget what would be the dream goal for your content?
I think if I had unlimited time and budget, I would bring together a passionate SciComm team to work solely on bringing science to the world, in every area on the planet. If money was no object, I would set up SciComm centres all over the world where people could come in and interact with science (experiments/lectures) and talk to people that are experts in certain fields. There are so many brilliant possibilities that I can’t think of right now, but I know the field of SciComm is simply unlimited in its potential.
What are your favourite tools and equipment to use?
My favourite tools that I use are really just my iPhone, Macbook Pro and Blue Snowball microphone. I utilize these as best I can by running my podcast episodes on skype and recording them using a Skype recorder that I purchased. The microphone is a must for anyone looking to get into podcasting – and I enjoy the ability to sync my files between devices. I also love to use note apps like Apple notes or Google Keep; these allow me to take notes re: my podcast episodes and any articles that catch my eye. I also use Google Docs for setting out a plan for episodes. Google Sheets is used frequently when I want to share with people on Twitter – this is a great tool for collaborative work.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Mike for taking the time to answer the questions, hopefully you find it as informative and entertaining as I did. Make sure to go follow Mike especially if you’re into scicomm and science in general. He honestly is one of the best curators of the subject I know and it’s done in such a friendly welcoming manner that newcomers shouldn’t be put off either.
I’d love to hear what you thought of this interview and series in general, it was my first time asking for interviews and Mike couldn’t have been happier to help. Let me know in comments what you think and if there are any other scicomm or creators making learning fun?