The career of an academic is filled with peaks and troughs. We have periods where we're rolling in grant funds, and then many years of no funding. We have high impact papers accepted with minor revisions, and then a string of rejections. And we have parts of the year where we are completely swamped with teaching and research, and then times between semesters where we have relative luxurious freedom to pursue our research interests...
It is perhaps needless to say that it was during the latter that the idea of a 100 day-long social media campaign came to me. In the past I have found that it is rarely wise to execute big ideas that originate during these periods of "free" time, since they are fleeting and valuable. Evidently I am not yet wise enough to listen to my own advice, and so, I plunged headfirst into a commitment to post a picture from my research once a day for 100 days, beginning on the first day of semester two, 2021.
I was somewhat mindful of how onerous this commitment could become, so before I launched the initiative I selected photos and pre-wrote 75 days worth of posts. I figured that with the awesome field work I had planned I would easily be able to come up with another 25 posts on the fly. Unfortunately, Victoria went into another lockdown shortly after #100daysofGeoscience started, so that put a swift end to my field work plans. I also found that once I saw the posts that people engaged with most, I ditched some of the planned posts and added new, different ones.
What did I learn? Scheduling is key and it is easy. Instagram and twitter both let you schedule many posts in advance. When I got very busy at the end of the semester (around day 70) I just pre-scheduled the rest of the posts through to day 100 so I wouldn't need to think about it. However, I would try to check in on my posts on twitter and instagram each day to answer people's questions and comments.
Even though this took a lot of time, I think I will do something like it again next year. A lot of people love geology as much as I do and it is awesome to be able to share my work with them. These are people who would not read or understand my papers, but who now see rocks in a different way. And that's what #100daysofgeoscience was all about.