Career Profile: Digital Science Advocacy
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Brice Russ is the Social Media Producer for Science at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Assistant Director for Yuri’s Night, an annual worldwide celebration of humanity’s past, present and future in space.
Guest blogger Anna Dausman had the pleasure of speaking with Brice. The interview will be presented here in several parts.
Anna: Can you tell me a little bit about what you do at AAAS?
Brice: I’m the Social Media Producer for the journal Science, with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, based in Washington, DC. I manage social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter, for our main page (Science Magazine); we also have a huge news team over here, which covers the latest scientific research, that I run social media for as well.
I’ve always been interested in working around communications and outreach, in science and technology in particular. I did my linguistic research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and then The Ohio State University. I loved it all, but I realized I was more interested in sharing the latest scientific discoveries and research than actually doing the research myself.
I really enjoy reaching out to different folks, and helping them become aware of these discoveries and insights that they may be able to apply to their daily lives. I’ve always been fascinated by social networks in general, both the abstract concept and the media platforms you see for them online. I’ve been on social media for a while — I joined Facebook in 2004 — and I’m continually asking myself: how can we use social media to get the word out about science?
These networks make it really easy, in many ways, to share things across a wide audience, but it’s also true that social media is a double-edged sword. It’s not going away anytime soon, though. If it’s going to be in our lives, we have to make sure we use it for good.
I work for the journal Science: promoting research, news, our journal articles. On a standard day, I’ll start by checking our daily analytics and the feedback from whatever happened overnight on social media. I get our first posts out early in the morning, then go into our daily meeting with news staff. We hear about the big stories we’re covering, so I know what’s coming down the pipe.
After that, my work varies from day to day. Our new issue for Science comes out every Thursday, so every Thursday (and Friday) I’m more focused on preparing to promote the new issue, getting everything written and clearly communicated. Monday and Tuesdays are usually lighter days, so I can focus more on strategy: what should we be doing differently? How can we make best use of ‘this info’ or ‘that data?’ I never work a 9-5 day; it’s usually more than that. But I have the chance to speak about science to more than 5 million people every day, so I really can’t complain! I write a bit more than 100 posts per week, between Facebook and Twitter — I did the math and, on average, I’m writing a post every 30 minutes that I’m at work.
Especially in communications (but also outside of it): if you have an interesting or competitive job, you’re going to be working all the time. You have to always be getting new stuff out, but you can’t sacrifice quality while you’re doing it. Find the balance between ‘perfect’ and just ‘getting it out the door.’ When I was in graduate school, I would spend forever tweaking this paper or that thesis; it’s going to be published (if things go right) and stay like that until the end of time, so you always want to do just a little bit more. But in my current job, I have to write something and move on to the next five things.
Guest Blogger: Anna Dausman is a linguist and storyteller based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Anna earned her BA in English and Linguistics from the College of William & Mary, and is pursuing an MS in Public Administration from Fels Institute of Government. You can reach Anna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for Part II of the interview with Brice
Click here for Part III
Sectors profiled in the “Profiles in Linguistics” series: Corporate Social Responsibility, Healthcare Communications, Library Science, Knowledge Management, Naming, Non-Profit Communications, Program Evaluation, Publishing, Social Media Marketing,Tech, User Experience Research, Training and Facilitation and many more!
If you would like to recommend someone (including yourself) for a future profile, please contact Career Linguist.