Small Scale Big Impact – Effective Social Media

In the months leading up to National Science Week, the ACT branch of the ASC wants to help you get the most out of your events.
On June 28 we’ll be talking with Emily Coates from Ivy Social.
Emily will give you some tips on how to use social media to promote your event and how to prepare for success!
The session will be presented via Zoom and will be recorded, so even if you can’t make the time, please register to get access after. All information is available on the ACT ASC Facebook page
This event is generously supported by Inspiring the ACT. 

On the cover of Facebook.

Thanks to Dustin Welbourne for the Facebook update! The ASC Facebook group appears to be growing at a relatively steady rate with now > 1300 members. There is a core group of 20–50 people that regularly post material and engage in conversations. A special thank you needs to go out to James Hutson who did up an appropriate banner for the page. The posts are a good mix of science communication related news, science or science communication science events, and job postings or opportunities for science communicators. We are also using the Files function on the page to create content lists. These lists so far include Science Games, Podcasts, and Blogs and Vlogs. There are some things we would like to see more of. Having members post photos and give a 200 word snippet of events would be great. Not all people that use social media use all platforms of social media. Thus, having these stories would raise awareness and interest in those events.  

President’s update

Thanks to Joan Leach for the President’s Update

Debate about Debate
I recently returned from a conference where a hot topic of discussion was on just that—discussion on various social media platforms. Now, I have zero credibility in this area. I lurk and consider and admire those who are out there making pithy and insightful comments and throwing the best of the interwebs our way. But, the conference discussion was about the best way to set up networks to benefit specialist groups—like ASC. There is a camp that insists on strong rules for such social networks, and making sure that members understand the context of their posts and are posting for the benefit of the group. There is an alternative camp that says this approach weeds out the spontaneous, the interesting, the to and fro of difference that makes social media, well, social media. And then there are people like me, very engaged and interested, but lurking.

This has become more of a hot topic for ASC in the past 6 months as members have belonged to each of the camps above—strong regulators, strong freewheelers, and a large body of interested onlookers. We’ve so far tried to take the middle ground. We have our robust freewheeling public LinkedIn account. And, we have a members-only LinkedIn space. Now, we’re thinking about our approach to Facebook. If you have a view of how ASC should proceed in the social media space, let us know. We’ve had some very valuable and thoughtful feedback so far, but I’m keen to hear from more people. While I tend to take a laissez faire approach, I agree with members who indicate that there are just some things I don’t want to read about in an ASC context. And yet, I’m happy to read about differences in approach to communicating all sorts of science—and actually enjoy a bit of a robust discussion about this. Is that the balance we want—and if so, how do you think we get it?

If you have a view, can you let us know, either on our LinkedIn or Facebook channels?

Tend your backyard first

Thank you to Abbie Thomas for sharing her training experience.

I recently did a two-day course with the generous support of an ASC Professional Development Grant. The course on using Social Media was run by Tim Holt, a social media trainer from Melbourne whose runs the social media company Net101.

Over two days, Tim took us through the basics and the more advanced aspects of Social Media and how to use it for marketing and communications.

The students attending the course were a diverse bunch: a guy who owned an educational music business, the communications manager of a research centre for contaminated sites, the media manager of a medical research institute, while my neighbour was editor of a regional South Australian newspaper.

What this told me is that no matter what area of communication you work in, we all need to know about social media. How big a role it should play in our work, how much effort we should put in to it, and what rewards it can reap we hoped to find out.

Over two days, we were bombarded with a wealth of tips and tricks for improving our use of social media: how to write great tweets, how to discover which Facebook posts your fans have shared the most, where to find cheap cool graphics, and how to write website text that will get the Googlers landing on your site.

But among all the jargon flying around, Tim put it to us that, actually, social media isn’t the main game in town.

While it’s easy to get all excited and puffed up about how many people have Liked, Reposted, Retweeted or Shared your content, there’s a more important thing that is easily overlooked: your own website. Social media is all very well, says Tim, but it will always be ‘rented real estate’ – somewhere you occupy for only a short time and over which you have no control. By contrast, your website is all yours: no-one can change it, no one can take your content off it, and it will, if nurtured, grow into a valuable asset.

‘Websites are like a garden – if you don’t tend it, it will degrade,’ says Tim.

‘Treat your front page like the lobby of a successful business: it should always look sparkling, clean and fresh.

‘Allocate time every week to checking links, adding new content and keeping the site looking its best.’

For the total time you spend on social media and web management, Tim suggests allocating 80% to your website, and just 20% on your social media activity.

Because internet fashions in fonts, colours and design are constantly changing, a website can start looking out of date quite quickly. Tim’s rule of thumb is to refresh the look of your site at least every 2-3 years, otherwise it will start looking daggy and uncool.

I’m still not convinced social media can generate big profits, but Tim has convinced me that the cornerstone of any social media strategy must start, and finish, with a cool, up to date, well looked after website.


Tim Martin at NET:101 Social Media Courses has generously offered a 20% discount to any NET:101 course up until the end of 2015 for ASC members.

To redeem your discount use the promo code ‘science’ when registering.


Inspiring Australia update: Millions of science fans can’t be wrong

Hit Australian science news service ScienceAlert approaches six million fans.

ScienceAlert headerIt started in 2005 as a humble website, but the Canberra-based ScienceAlert is now a social media superstar, having reached more than 5.6 million fans on Facebook.

Every day, ScienceAlert posts news stories, feature articles, videos, images and comment to spread the work of Australian universities and research agencies. Its fans then share the stories further, increasing the reach to 10-15 million people worldwide.

“We also have 250,000 Australian fans and they in turn are helping us to reach 1-2 million Australians,” said ScienceAlert managing director Chris Casella. “This is great news for Australian science – at a time when reportage of science in the traditional media is flagging.”

ScienceAlert continues to partner with YouTube science celebrities to branch out into the real world, with shows like IFLS Live! in Sydney. This is all part of its mission to not only promote Australian science, but to give people the knowledge needed to tackle global issues.

“But science alone is not enough,” said ScienceAlert founder Julian Cribb. “The knowledge it generates needs to be shared at lightspeed among seven billion human beings, so they can make use of it. That is what motivates us.”

This knowledge can be found at

Inspiring Australia

Social media workshop – Brisbane event

22 May 2012
6:00 pmto7:00 pm

Science-­‐connect a FREE workshop on science communication through social media
Are you interested in using social media to communicate science?

Is social media part of your job as a science communicator?

Come along to the Science-­‐connect workshop and learn more about:

  • Applying social media in science communication
  • Engaging and keeping the attention of your target audience
  • Determining if your social media applications are effective

Receive feedback on your use of social media applications from experts in the field:

  • Paul Goldston from Reload Media (
  • Elliot Franks from the social media research team at Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts (formerly DEEDI)

When: Tuesday 22 May, 6-7:00pm, before The Big Snapshot of Australian Science Engagement
Where: The Story Bridge Hotel, Kangaroo Point
Entry: Free. Drinks and finger foods provided

For all enquiries please email:

Social Media workshop – Getting Started (Adelaide)

22 October 2010
2:00 pmto5:00 pm

Getting started with social media

A professional development workshop presented by Museums Australia (SA Branch)

Friday 22nd October 2010

2pm – 5pm

Edgeloe Room*, Mitchell Building, University of Adelaide

Cost: $20 MA Members

$35 nonmembers

Afternoon tea provided

RSVP ESSENTIAL to by Wednesday 20th October

The workshop is specifically designed for small museums (and other non-profits) with limited resources. Since it will assume little to no knowledge of social media, it’s perfect for digital novices and people who are interested in social media but don’t quite know where to start.

The workshop will include an introduction to social media, the available platforms (twitter, flickr, facebook etc) and what each is used for. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a basic understanding of the potential of social media for their museums, as well as some practical tips about how to get started.

Hosting the workshop will be Darren Peacock, Director of Sweet Technology. Darren has twenty years’ experience in planning and managing information and communication projects and services and established Sweet Technology in 2004. He has extensive experience with the non-profit and cultural sector, with clients including History SA, Royal Institution of Australia and Museum Victoria.

A flyer is attached – please feel free to circulate.

*we regret that this venue is not wheelchair accessible

Regan Forrest

MA SA Branch Secretary

_______________________________________________ ASC-list mailing list

pdf iconsocmed flyer.pdf