Dr. Christine Whitcraft Assistant professor of Biological Sciences @CSULB

Public Knowledge 5: Making a Difference in your own backyard & Social Media

Susan C. Mills speaking at Public Knowledge: Media Training Workshop, Session 5
Susan C. Mills speaking at Public Knowledge: Media Training Workshop, Session 5

Public Knowledge is an initiative committed to making scholarly work generated by faculty and students accessible and relevant to the public.

this can be achieved through:

  • Media Interviews
  • Social Media
  • Videos
  • Op Eds
Dr. Christine Whitcraft Assistant professor of Biological Sciences @CSULB
Dr. Christine Whitcraft
Assistant professor of Biological Sciences @CSULB

Dr. Christine Whitcraft

Assistant professor of Biological Sciences @CSULB

CSULB: Center for Community Engagement / Service Learning Center – AS building near Anatol – Carina & Juan

Community Engagement – specific perspectives in your field

Ongoing relationships that benefit many levels of your community

  • Public Events
  • Social Media
  • Civic Engagement
  • Social Justice

In Whitcraft’s work Community Engagement is an essential part of what she does. Can’t access wetlands (“mud”) on other people’s land without community engagement. Participants in survey work.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
— Benjamin Franklin

Integrated Service Learning into her Conservation Biology class. (Bio 459)

Dr. Christine Whitcraft Assistant professor of Biological Sciences @CSULB
Dr. Christine Whitcraft
Assistant professor of Biological Sciences @CSULB

Students: starting to form relationships with partners > helpful when you graduate and are looking for a job.

Service Learning is NOT:

  • a volunteer program
  • logging a number of community service hours to graduate

Benefits to Community Engagement

  • Enhances RTP files
  • leads to collaborative relationships outside individual departments
  • Potential presentations & publications

Susan / Making Partnerships

How will we communicate this to the public? Social Media? Newspapers?

  • Speak to your partner organizations about PR / Promotions @beginning of collaboration
  • Will someone shoot photo / video?
  • Will there be Social Media
  • Will there be Press Release / Media Advisory (who, what, when, where of what will happen, inviting press to come)
  • Will there be a Media Event?
  • All partners must weigh in / approve any material distributed to the media
  • Determine who the spokespeople are

Community Engagement vs Community Partnership

Social Media / Susan

Professional vs Personal
Websites, Apps, Platforms
In your professional life it shouldn’t be cute cat videos
Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

How can you use these channels

  • Cultivate Your Brand (who you are as a faculty member / researcher)
  • Showcase scholarly work – teaching, students
  • Event awareness
  • Engage w your community
  • Keep up w trends in your field

Defining Your Brand

  • Create a social media presence that reflects who you are (professional)
  • What makes you unique – what is your particular take on your field of study
  • What are your goals
  • What are you hoping to accomplish in your work?
  • Who is your audience?
  • Who do you want to reach? Colleagues, students, foundations, journals, community partners
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What gets you excited to come to work? Research? Students? Your lab?

Visual Content

  • 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual
  • Visuals are processed 60,000x faster by brain than text
  • 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text
  • Visual content is often social media ready & made to share
  • Whenever possible include photos, videos & graphics
  • Be careful not to use images/videos that may be disturbing or inappropriate
  • try not to show organisms being cut into
  • Would your significant other be offended?
  • Does it conform with university or research policy?
  • Will PETA or some other organization come after you?

If you’re on campus you’ve given permission for yourself to be photographed. If students are pictured close-up, it would be best to get a photo release.

Why use Facebook?


  • 316 million users
  • Network, meet people, build relationships, develop community
  • Learn – Eavesdrop, crowd-source, collect data
  • Teach – share resources & articles, tell stories, discuss & debate
  • Can’t be too thin skinned

Carolyn Porco

  • Great description of her work
  • engages often
  • retweets other interesting accounts
  • gets retweets & favorites of her own


  • Worldwide Reach
  • Professional Audience
  • Highly Trusted by Google
  • Acts as digital resume
  • Celebrate your accomplishments
  • include links to journals, articles, websites that feature your work
  • be thorough
  • connect w other people in your field

Final Thoughts

  • Hashtags
  • Create a conversation for people to follow: #standWithCSU, #Prop64, #diversity
  • Insert yourself into a conversation: #diversity, #higherEd
  • Use humor to make a point: #sorryNotSorry, #goFigure
  • Twitter limit 140, but 100 or less perform best
  • Abbreviate: Your=Yr, You=U, About=Abt, And=&
  • @ – helps tag / ID someone, .@ at beginning of a tweet
  • bitly.com or tinyulr.com to shorten links
  • the more people you follow, the more followers you will have
  • If you don’t want it to appear in the media, DON’T POST IT!

Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms

  • just saying what you want online is obsolete, everybody is upping their game and being more professional

Who to follow:

  • @csulb
  • @presconoley
  • department / college
  • colleagues
  • partner orgs
  • relevant media reporters, outlets, journals, foundations
  • @CSBULimpact
  • @CSULBNewsHub
  • @scmills100
  • @CSULBmammalLab


  • Continue working w videographers on your projects
  • Reception: Th 17 Nov 5:30-7p, The Miller House, Pres Conoley, Provost Brian Jersky maybe, VP Devel Andrea Taylor, all our speakers invited, donors


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