I didn’t mean to become a marine science communicator. It all started in 2011 when, like all good students, I was procrastinating in front of my laptop. At some point I decided that my procrastination could at least be useful, so I decided to start popping marine science and conservation news stories up on the web.
My first post was just a link to a story about a conference going on somewhere in America. I didn’t write anything myself, just posted the link. I carried on doing this on and off for a while, but gradually started adding my own short introduction, a couple of sentences on the link I was sharing here and there. It took another six months or so before I started adding any larger content to my post, but once I started writing a paragraph or two on a story or science paper, I started to get some engagement from the public—simple ‘likes’ and positive comments thanking me for the story at first, but then later people sharing my posts and some questions about the topics I was writing on.
I started posting more and more, and with it engagement with the public grew. As far as I was concerned, this wasn’t science communication, this wasn’t working on ocean literacy (that’s for professionals, right?). Even when I was approached by an editor of a professional publication asking if I would be happy to have one of my posts appear in their next issue, I did not think what I was doing was science communication, so when I was commissioned to write my first piece by someone reading my posts for their industry-based magazine, I was a more than a little surprised. This contact lead to pieces being commissioned another publication, and another, and another. Today I’m lucky enough to have pieces commissioned from me on a regular basis.
This article was written for (and appears in full in) the Canadian Network for Ocean Education (CaNOE).
Image Credit: Rodolphe Devillers