Tuesday, 27 March 2018

My Instagram and me (Georgia Atkin-Smith)

"Microscopy suite > General lab > Tissue culture > Mouse house"
https://www.instagram.com/p/BeUt5jPnJ-6/
Photo sourced from @someblondescientist
George Atkin-Smith only started her Instagram account @someblondescientist in late September 2017. 

In that short time, the account has gained almost 3600 followers and is going strong!  

The RED Alert invited Georgia to write about her Instagram experiences. Read on to see what it takes to create and manage a successful Insta account!

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I had been thinking for a while about setting up an Instagram account about my daily science life and general scientific communications (#scicomm).

But it took a lot of encouragement for me to take the leap!

Personally, I love social media and use many different forms. I reasoned that, if I was going to invest my time in it, it may as well be for something that not only helped me and my career, but also supported others along the way.

I created my ‘InstaBlog’ (an Instagram account that followed my day-to-day research adventures) without even realising the amazing scientific community I was joining.


Instagram is FULL of amazing #scicomm accounts that share scientific lives, give advice and discuss news in the scientific world. The platform allows me to share photos, stories, live videos and short or extensive content – so, it is perfect for representing the kind of work I do.


There are many Instagram accounts that have influenced, encouraged and inspired me. To name but a few these include: @science.sam | @stories.of.a.scientist | @fitgrad.andreea | @scigirlsash | @emmanigma_. These people have really made a difference to my research journey as they clearly depict the lives of scientists, showcase the diversity of this community, and are a clear demonstration of what you can achieve when you have a passion for communicating your research.

I've found the support within the scientific community on Instagram to be incredible. Everyone encourages and supports others, and I'm honoured to be a part of it.

My primary motivation for setting up my account was to have fun! So, it's important for me not to feel pressured about how I run it. I tend to post whenever I feel like I have something to say. I actively avoid posting ‘because I need content’ or because I haven’t posted for a while. If I am doing something interesting in the lab or have an intriguing thought, I’ll create an Insta update out of it.

The main element I try to include in my Instablog is honesty. To me, it's very important to show a clear representation of what it is like to be a scientist. Sometimes, things work; most of the time, they don’t. Therefore, I want to ensure that what I am posting truly reflects me and the sector I'm working in. When you’re having a bad day in the lab, it is really comforting to see that you’re not the only one!

If you've ever browsed through Instagram, you'll see that users drop in many hashtags! I'm still learning when it comes to how to use these best...there is so much to learn! Hashtags can be really useful, clever, funny and an easy way to promote posts. For example, the recent #scientistswhoselfie movement gained a lot of fantastic support and involvement. Keeping up to date with the community is a good way to stay on top of trending tags and debates.

Overall, I am so happy I ventured into the world of #scicomm on Instagram. I really enjoy getting involved in the community, talking to people from all over the world and learning about everything science. I have received so many messages from students from all around the world seeking advice, asking questions about life as a scientist or simply saying that they can relate to, or feel inspired by, the content.

Knowing that I can help people through what I post or connecting with this community is an incredible feeling.

I would really encourage people to get involved in research communications, no matter what their field of interest! It's so important to convey our niche jobs and expertise with the public to gain their trust and educate others.

My two key pieces of advice for people wanting to set up a similar thing is:

1. Be honest: People relate to honesty and it’s so important to show a wholistic representation of a job, career and life in general.

2. Share the support: Engage in your community and support others - this support will find its way back to you!

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Georgia Atkin-Smith is a final year PhD student in the field of Biochemistry and Immunology. 

In addition to research, Georgia has a passion for scientific communications and is an advocate for women in STEM. 

You can follow Georgia’s science life on her new Instagram Blog, Some Blonde Scientist (@someblondescientist).


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