Team:WPI Worcester/Social Media

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Social media is a very important and underrated aspect of scientific research. Different social media platforms allow for the spread of knowledge to those not actively involved in the scientific community. This summer we decided to enhance our social media presence as an iGEM team to give people not actively involved in the scientific community the opportunity to see synthetic biology in a positive and enthusiastic way.

“If you have, say, a thousand followers on Twitter, that’s like talking to a large auditorium every time you tweet something about your science: a powerful tool indeed.” -Dr. Alistair Dove


The WPI iGEM team Facebook page was created in June of 2015. Since then we have been able to gain over 200 followers! This summer our team decided to have a more active presence on social media. Data comparison between last summer and this summer show our efforts to be successful!

The reach of a Facebook post is defined as the amount of people that engage with the post. This means that the people who are considered to be “reached” by the post either liked or shared our post. These actions increase our social media presence by showing our post to not only the people following us, but the people following those people. It quickly turns into a chain reaction and we can reach upwards of 1,000 people instantly. The average post reach for 2015 was 62 people. This average was almost tripled in 2016 with the average post reach being 173 people.


The Twitter page for the WPI iGEM team was also created in June of 2015. Over the past few years, the teams have posted updates about the team, recent scientific research, human practices, and even live tweeted some iGEM events like Jamboree 2015 and NEGEM! The goal for the 2016 iGEM team was to increase the amount of followers and interactions on the iGEM Twitter page. The chart below shows that we exceeded expectations by almost doubling the number of interactions from 2015!

The interactions on a Twitter page are defined as anytime that a tweet receives a retweet, like or share. These interactions help to spread the word about not only our research but the research of many other iGEM teams that we share. This summer we were also able to increase our number of followers from the previous year. At the end of the 2015 iGEM Jamboree the Twitter page had 200 followers and today we have over 280!


The WPI iGEM Instagram page was created this year as a way for us to increase our social media presence. Over the course of three short months, we were able to gain 123 followers, post 52 pictures, and interact with 58 iGEM teams from around the world.

The chart above shows the number of interactions from each post on Instagram over the course of the summer. An interaction on Instagram in defined as either a like or a comment on a post. It can be seen that over the course of the three months, our average number of interactions increased from 10 to about 25 interactions.

Our most successful Instagram campaign was #FluorescentFriday! Every week the team would create artwork using GFP and RFP during down time in the lab. On Fridays, we would pick the best art from the week and post it with the hashtag! This campaign was our way of showing people outside of the scientific community that science is fun! Through this campaign we were able to engage over 100 people on a weekly basis. We even had people check in with us when we didn’t post our #FluorescentFriday pictures early in the day, showing us that people were engaged by our Instagram approach!

Our most successful post of 2016 was a result of #FluorescentFriday. This summer, when Pokemon Go swept the nation, one of our teammates drew Pokemon characters with RFP and GFP. This post reached more than 4,000 people! It received 12 likes on Facebook, 31 likes on Instagram, and 125 interactions on Twitter! This post helped us to show that science and current events can overlap!