2022 in a Review – milestones & challenges

Hello hello! Welcome to the special episode of Under the microscope – THE 2022 review. For new listeners, this is a podcast featuring materials and nanoscientists which runs in parallel to the realscientists nano twitter account.

First things first, The Science Talk is the umbrella under which all activities happen. Major chunk of work in 2022 went towards our beloved materials science project. RSN twitter and Under the Microscope podcast are two parts of this project. 

SOOO, a lot happened in 2022. I mean A LOT! First of all, we started the year being a team of 6 and ended it with being a team of 2. Will get into it over the course of this episode. Some numbers to begin with.

  • We had 21 guests in 2022 from different parts of the world and different pockets of materials science
  • Realscientists Nano tweets had, hold your breath, close to a million impressions. (936.6k) A MILLION. Can you believe it?! 😀 

Aight let’s go month by month, starting with January. A lot of work into the backend of Under the Microscope in making the podcasts available on anchor so that the content is accessible on spotify, apple podcasts, etc. Basically getting an RSS feed for the podcast so anyone can listen from their favourite podcast platform. Thanks to Lucia from the bottom of my heart for being a rockstar and leading this project!

Of course moving podcasts, including backlogs, to a completely new platform takes longer than a few weeks so most of Feb was also spent in doing that. This in addition to the keeping lights on stuff like scheduling curators, recording, editing podcasts, maintaining website etc.

In Feb and March, we also started putting together a plan for regular blogposts. One main idea was to keep in touch with our curators and Johanna came up with a very quirky name – keeping up with the curators. Tee hee hee! This basically goes to show you that TST is a very fun team and is a sandbox for quirky ideas. 🙂

Over March and April we published the “old” Under the Microscope episodes on Anchor. In April we also created a list on Twitter consisting of all our curators. This is to make it easier to consume science content via our curator’s accounts.

In May and June we started looking into different platforms to continue communication with our community. I don’t really like the word newsletter but yea, basically wanted to send out regular newsletter/news alerts. A huge thank you to Johanna for leading this project!

Also, oh my god, in June we got free access to Canva pro. This was so very cool, later in the year I penned down an official thank you note to Canva. Another great thing that happened in June and that was RSN Twitter crossed 3000 followers making it the most popular materials science rocur twitter account

Aight we are halfway through 2022 by now. This is a good time to mention that The Science Talk is run by unpaid volunteers. What this means is that every team member has a day job, be it making satellites, research or something else. The work on The Science Talk is only if they have the capacity at the end of the day or week.

In July we had a very interesting post – Book review: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. BTW, Apple TV is adapting this book into a series led by none other than CAPTAIN MARVEL – Brie Larson. We were completely unaware of this news when our book review came out. Sweet surprise indeed! I attended a very interesting virtual event on July 27 Think in Color organised by thinkinfic. Learned a lot from the inspiring lineup!

Over July and August I also started looking into Patreon as we started losing our team mates to other priorities. It’s simple, paid gigs take priority over unpaid volunteering. So as the owner of The Science Talk, it is my responsibility to bring in money to atleast cover the running costs. 

In August we officially open doors to join our mailing list. Sign up if you haven’t already.

Towards the end of August I started creating media for insta stories, shorts, reels. Basically snippets of Under the Microscope podcast and boy did it work! There was and is an appetite for short content. 😉

That brings us to September, wow already 75% through 2022. Sooo by September we had all our podcasts on Anchor, TST was on Patreon, the mailing list was populating and I was actively working on developing business models for institutions and sponsors. Had to tap into my product management and strategic marketing skills to come up with attractive business models. Must say the Think in Color virtual event catalyzed this process. 

Most of October was spent in creating short form content and developing business models. Oh and also putting together a deck for the WOW Physics! conference. I delivered a talk on building twitter as a scientist and you can watch the talk here.

November was also a big month as I started live streaming. Two reasons behind this. One, opening doors for budding science communicators to see what goes behind building and maintaining a digital scicomm platform. Two, I received quite a bit of criticism when presenting our business models to scientists and universities. So to show them how much work goes into The Science Talk, live streaming is a solid tool. Scientists seem to be used to free scicomm opportunities. Of course I am generalizing, but yes, this has been my experience so far. Sorry but I refuse to let myself and my team continue to work for free. Unpaid labor is overrated and I am not here to support it. Aight rant over. On the positive side, in November we started a collaboration with Zeeks – Art for Geeks who make gorgeous science art in addition to a bunch of other things!

That brings us to December, last month of 2022 wooo! Thanks to Zeeks we had a Christmas giveaway. And and we are in the last stages of locking a sponsor for 2023. This is a big step towards making The Science Talk financially sustainable.

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