17: Memeing to the Choir

“This time around, the revolution will not be televised” – Public Enemy

With our Contagious Ideas Arc continuing to go viral, we embrace the meta-narrative and delve into the (love-hate) relationship science has with Social Media.

As producers of a fledgling podcast focused on a niche topic, we are interested in harnessing the power of social media to develop our audience. However, neither of us are very active on social media, so in this episode we reflect on how social networks can be used to amplify a message.

For better or worse, the novelty of social media has worn off. The largest of the social media platforms, Facebook, is now one of the most important corporations in the world, collecting data on an Orwellian scale. The echo chamber provided by these networks has allowed dangerous pseudoscience and conspiracy theories to flourish (e.g. anti-vaxxers, flat earthers, QAnon). Leading us to wonder, how can scientific research hope to stand out from the torrent of misinformation?

The answer seems to lie in the fact that the large social media networks beyond Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp are somewhat stratified in terms of both demographics and purpose. For example, if you want to show your love of knots with the world, Pinterest seems to be the best choice. The only social media network Core Ideas currently has a presence on is Twitter, and we hope to make better use of this account going forward. Although breaking out of our bubble, and building an audience looks like it will require a combination of both hard work and luck.

Episode 17 can be found here.