Tools for Scientific Storytelling: Social Media


Did you know that the more often a research paper gets tweeted, the more likely it is to be cited?

Back in July 2013, genomics.entrepreneurship@UBC brought you an introductory Social Media workshop with science communicator, Ben Paylor. The focus of this session was to introduce you to the value of social media for communicating research to a lay audience in the context of storytelling. Scientists, in general, have been somewhat reticent to normalize the use of social media as a tool to engage the public, as well as network with their colleagues.

Building on the previous, this upcoming workshop will:

  1. provide perspective on how social media has affected the course of several well-known scientific stories and lessons to be learned from these cases, and
  2. provide practical training on how to utilize basic (Twitter, Facebook) and advanced (Hootsuite) social media tools to engage both public and scientific communities alike.

Due to the positive feedback from participants and a high demand for this more hands-on, “how to” session, we are excited to present a follow-up Social Media workshop. This time, Ben will be teaming up with Amy Elderkin, partner and managing director of POPCORN.

Why Should You Attend?

A key to becoming a successful scientist is the ability to communicate one’s fascinating research in a way that is readily understandable by non-scientists. This session will underline the importance of public awareness and understanding of scientific pursuits and how the ability to communicate to the general public can benefit both the research itself as well as a scientist’s career.

About the Instructors

Ben Paylor (@BenPaylor)

Ben is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia focusing on cardiac stem cell biology. He previously completed a Masters of Philosophy at Universiteit Maastricht (NL), a one-year academic exchange to Umea University (SE) and a Bachelor of Medical Sciences at the University of Western Ontario. A passionate science communicator and 2011 graduate of the acclaimed Banff Centre’s Science Communication program, Ben utilizes a wide variety of media to engage and educate the public about topics such as genomics and stem cell research. He has written & directed several award-winning short films, is the director of the scientific animation studio InfoShots, and currently blogs at the Stem Cell Network’s “Signals” blog. He also currently serves as the co-chair of outreach at the Canadian Science Policy Centre and was one of seventeen Canadians selected for a 2012/12 Action Canada Fellowship. Outside of work, Ben is an avid cyclist and pianist.

amyAmy Elderkin (@VancityAmy)

Amy Elderkin is a partner and managing director of POPCORN, a Vancouver boutique social marketing agency, specializing in food, beverage, lifestyle brands and hospitality.  Amy’s strong ability to connect has allowed her to not only build other people’s brands online, but also build her own. She successfully completed a social experiment called “tweet to eat” where she received all of her food for a two week period, exclusively through the generosity of strangers on twitter. Amy is passionate about social engagement, sales, and communications and is constantly looking for the next big thing online. Learn more at

What Past Participants Said

“It went beyond my expectation. It really motivated me to get involved in social media.”

“I came in with several questions, ALL of which were answered during the presentation.”

“I’ve always been reluctant about social media, but this presentation convinced me that they could be used in a serious manner. The information I’ve acquired will have a positive impact on the way I use social media, which is what I was hoping for.”

“Ben is a library of knowledge and has a wealth of experiences to draw on, so he handles the content & questions very well.”

“Ben was awesome! Like how he sees social media as a crucial tool for science communication, not only for outreach, but also to communicate with peers.”


Ben’s presentation from the introductory workshop is available for viewing at

Ben’s slides from the second offering of the workshop are available at

Check out our Communication Resources page for more links to useful social media guides and tools.


Follow the conversation or join in using hashtag #scitweets!


Registration for this event is now closed. If you wish to be notified of future offerings of this workshop, please sign up for our newsletter.

Additional Information

For more information, please contact us.

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