We, thirteen fearless mathematicians, started our journey into the world of online science communication. The goal was always in our minds: inspiration of the public and representation of our research center. We had to plan our routes, get to know fabulous lookouts and dangerous cliffs and were thrown into the deep to learn to fly.
Like every journey, we began with packing our bags by participating at a kick-off workshop with the NaWik. Our guide Dr. Tobias Maier, biochemist and writer of the blog WeiterGen, was always at our side. He helped us though the difficult starting process. First we worked out aims and target groups for our online presentation. We want to be visible for you, our reader. We want to fascinate you about our research, the beauty of mathematics and to report from our activities like workshops, conferences and summer schools. A particular challenge is to deal with different target audiences. Naturally, we want to be visible for other scientists and students to inform them and to find new collaborations. In addition we want to address a general public, journalists, school kids or our families and friends. Mathematics is everywhere in our everyday life, but it often hides itself like a shy animal. We want to help changing the peoples attitude towards mathematics and explain to them why our research can make a difference.
To reach the different target audiences, Tobias Meier gave us a walk-through to various kinds of online media. In a lively debate we discussed advantages and disadvantages of Twitter, Facebook and others, and learned how to analyze our impact in such media. We are a heterogeneous group with professors, post doctoral researchers and also PhD students, thus, the students used their chance to turn the tables and to bring their expertise to bear. We discussed question like: Why do we need a facebook account if we already have a blog? How do mentions on twitter work? Or how can we find pictures to illustrate our blog articles without infringing copyright laws?
We had also had two sessions with external guests. Dr. Gudrun Thäter, a mathematician from our department and producer of the podcast Modellansatz, talked about math podcasts. A cooperation between this podcast and the CRC just started, since the current episodes (Modell080 f.) discuss the project ´Cooking Math’, a cooperation between students of Hochschule fuer Gestaltung and PhD-students of the CRC. On the other hand, Denis Elbl provided an insight into the KIT online team consisting of a facebook and a twitter account. He gave us useful tips how to manage accounts in social networks and shared his experience on feedback and comments with us.
In the last session we started our journey, hoisted our sails. The blog team set up this blog with a first blog entry. The social media team created a facebook and a twitter account. The video team started an youtube channel. Every team has milestones on their first route, which they want to achieve. So, come back soon to visit us again. It will be worth while!
And for those who expected to find some cat content here: I’m sorry, we decided to just have dog content here.