And now for something completely different… Social Media and Internet Presence
Fig. 1: From left: Mari Yamasaki, Laura Borghetti, Simone Gerhards, Gabriela Meyer and Katharina Hillenbrand (Photo by Maria Ruprecht).
To understand our answer, here’s a little background. When our GRK started, it was agreed that the best way of engaging with the general public would be through a weblog – the very same you are reading right now. After a few years, we came to realize that in order to reach more people, this could use some improvement and maybe could be supported by another social media platform. After some discussion and considering how most of us are to some extent familiar with it, we decided that an official Facebook page could fill this "supporting role". However, far from being experts, we looked forward to this workshop to find inspiration as to how we should pursue our goal.
Fig. 2: Katharina Hillenbrand and Simone Gerhards showing our Weblog to Gabriela Meyer (Photo by Maria Ruprecht).
As we saw during these two days, the poor reputation for Social Media often comes from a misuse of their potential. For instance, the flood of breakfast photos on Instagram or of cat jokes on Facebook devalues these platforms. Much worse, social media are sadly the fastest way to spread false and unverified news. For these reasons, it is even more important to implement the use of this technology to disseminate scientific knowledge in an attractive and accessible way. The decision to adopt a popular platform such as Facebook in parallel with our official weblog serves exactly this purpose. Not only to give fast and concise updates on the research that our Graduiertenkolleg is working on, but also to promptly inform our readers about cultural initiatives the doctoral students take part in, and why not, to get to know us. For research is not an abstract entity detached from the world, but it is made of people, of colleagues and friends, even if virtual.