Yes, I have been slacking on the blogging front. But I’ve been very active somewhere else: On Instagram! My account @fascinocean_kiel has been updated almost daily over the last month (I did continue with my private March #SciCommChall), and that has been a great learning experience!
Here is a random list of things I learned in April:
- A lot of people who like my posts do so because they are interested in Kiel. And for them to find my pictures, hashtags (#s) are super important. A lot more so than I thought! During April, most of my pictures got 40 “likes” or over. Usually my pictures are from Kiel fjord and thus tagged with Kiel, KielerFoerde, and other local tags. But then I went to Kühlungsborn for work and had a couple of — really pretty and interesting! — pictures from there, which I couldn’t tag the way I usually do, for obvious reasons. And those pictures did so much worse than pictures from Kiel! Even though I did include all the relevant oceanographic #s (like waves etc), the scicomm #s and the local Kühlungsborn #s. I guess this is what I aimed for by creating a german-speaking account that focusses on Kiel fjord, but I want to build on what I have and attract more people that really want the ocean scicomm bit, too, not just pretty pictures of Kiel fjord.
- On that note: pictures are so much more important than texts! I guess I knew that one, too, and it comes with using Instagram as the channel of choice (rather than blogging, for example). But I still find it slightly shocking that pictures of nice sun rises with a bird in the foreground will get so many more “likes” than pictures of exciting oceanography accompanied by good texts!
- I am assuming that only very few people actually read the texts I am writing (even thought they are an integral part of why I am running that Instagram account). I know for sure that three people on Instagram read everything I write and a couple more read occasionally, and then a handful of my friends read it on Facebook, and I hope that my parents do so either in this post or looking at the Instagram website. But that’s really not so many people compared to how much time it takes to write all that stuff!
- Posting more than one picture at a time isn’t a good idea, people won’t actually pay attention to all of them equally. When I post more than one picture at a time, the “likes” I would typically get seem to get divided between the pictures posted at the same time.
- Doing cool gifs to explain what’s going on isn’t as great an idea as I thought, either. I only tried this once, but a) you can’t post gifs on Instagram, you have to convert them to movies first, which makes the whole thing quite a hassle, b) it’s difficult for people to see the text as well as the gif simultaneously, so the gif has to either be self-explanatory or it won’t add much benefit, and c) I think I’ll stick to pictures and do the more in-depth explanations back here on my blog.
- I’m getting a little bored with just posting water the way I’ve been doing for two months now (as in: open water in some kind of pretty picture). For example, I have nice pictures of latte macchiato and awesome flow patterns therein which don’t fit my vision of my Instagram account, but which I think are cool and interesting and which I want to share. Do you see these rows in the flow going down the slope of the glass below the inverse shoulder (no idea how you call that part of a glass?). How cool are those? And what is going on there? I really want to talk about this somewhere, so watch out for it on here! :-)
- I also want to experiment more with the typical instagram-ing — describing my daily life as a scientist, using videos on stories, etc.. But that doesn’t fit with my vision for that account, either. So either I will need to start another account or work on expanding my vision to include all the stuff I would like to experiment with… But right now I am leaning towards more accounts and keeping this one the way it was set up, because …
- I am very pleased with how me starting my Instagram did help my colleagues start experimenting with social media, and how the very distinct design choices I made for this account helped open up discussions of how Instagram can be used for a multitude of different purposes. More on that very soon :-)
Anyway, that’s all I can think of right now. All of April’s @fascinocean_kiel Instagram posts below the cut. Enjoy, and I’ll try to blog a little more during May! :-)