How Do You Write Your STEM Post?

in STEMGeeks3 months ago

This is the schism I see all the time for new content creators versus those that figured out their shit together. Know your audience, platform, and customize a voice that tries to get attention to a wider audience as much as possible.

If one writes long form content and uses a bucket list of references with APA citation, I’m left to think who are these people writing for and what do they think goes on into the heads of their readers posting on Hive? If an article like that was shared on an established STEM site outside, that’s understandable. But if it’s release on a social media platform where general topics flood the page frequently, I wonder if people are having fun reading the stuff the author thinks is interesting too?

When you post content on a social media platform, long form content has to be really good to retain the attention span of a user with an average of less than a minute to spare reading a post (if you are lucky to retain their attention up to a minute). People doing their online reading have less attention span and are quick to dismiss content. Putting too many links here and there is like a hit or miss, as this can either improve your content’s rating or drive your reader away from your page and move on to another site that can distract them better.

This isn’t something you learn instantly when starting out content creation 101. But whenever I see long form content that is boring to me, I just ask, what kind of audience does this author think they are targeting or what do the authors think their audience is thinking?

If I posted my pathology related posts on my personal wall on social media, I probably get some likes and shares from close peers that don’t get what I’m sharing to the fullest extent. But it hits different if I specifically shared the content to a group of pathologists in the association where they know what I’m talking about.

A lot of my sources come from WHO and some reference books recommended during my training. The reason why I don’t source links to the concept is a preference. Let’s say someone who came upon my post wanted to check whether what I’m saying is true but they find it frustrating that I don’t share the reference material. What if I shared a link to the WHO that has a paywall or an APA citation on the physical book where I read the info from?

Then they have to subscribe or add more clicks just to verify the information they read which makes it a frustrating reading experience. I’m not going to substitute the source where I got my information because it really comes from there, credible official sources. I am tempted to just link the info to a general article that touch the subject superficially like those sites that serve as free real estate by charlatans on their posts to make it more credible. Maybe if I do that I can impress curators to support my post for extra cash grab.

For curating STEM topics, I can get behind the idea that it’s nice to see references sourced properly to make the curation process much easier to do. It gives more order to the STEM community here on what type of posts set the community set the standard to maintain quality.

But what if the content creator doesn’t give a shit about those norms and decides to just retell what they do on the job which happens to be on the STEM field and posted it outside the community page. What if they just don’t conform to the sourcing guidelines like I don’t know, some STEM posts on social media? Get out of Hive and see people posting their work on their respective STEM fields on twitter, ask them if they care about getting curation posts for missing out sharing the related literature to support it.

I’d rather put more emphasis on the author sharing a chill topic about their STEM related workday than be impressed about reading a post derived from a series of post some random author may not be invested on.

Let’s say someone talks about X topic here. The author isn’t working on the field of study they are sharing the content from. There’s a good chance that they’ll be doing people a favor to just link them to an article that explains it better. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing derivative content if one adds a lot of transformative value to it to make it stand out on its own.

But what about authors that just became a source of their own content? You know, average people that work on STEM related fields just talking about their day studying insects, describing what goes on in the lab they work on, and just coded their own fun AI.

This is one of the limiting factors to get people onboard the STEM niche on Hive in my opinion. These rules don’t thrive on social media sites outside the platform but here there’s an incentive to conform to a standard that hardly matters in the grander scale.

Content derived from another person’s content is essentially just a retell/reaction content and should be judged as a separate category vs content made personally. So if you read a science article about a comet passing by Earth, fill the post with comet facts, and stuff you saw from the internet, that’s creating a derivative content from different sources on the same topic of interest. In itself is fine because the retell/react adds some transformative value to the content if there was a balance of copy paste and adding one’s personal input on the content.

But personal content is a category where one straight up produces knowledge because the source is within one’s own personal adventures. On my case, I talk about the stuff I see at my STEM field related work and then explain it in a manner that is coincides with the theoretical concepts encountered in literature. There is a marked difference between a content creator that sits on a computer reading stuff that interests them and compiles the contents to make something new out of it versus a content creator that is on the field creating content someone else will cite from.

That’s not the reason why I made a separate account for sharing medical related content. I got influenced by notable people in the same field I work sharing their knowledge for FREE be it on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites. They weren’t trying to impress the general masses who don’t understand what goes on their field but a specific niche of professionals that can relate to it. And then I decided to bridge this to my other passion of disseminating the love for knowledge.

Why share content that’s so laborious to understand for a layman when you can dumb down the concepts enough to get people an idea what you’re talking about without being in the profession you are in. This is the kind of voice I am going for when I post under this account. You come in, read a few paragraphs, figured out some new trivia and then move on. No complicated medical jargons and advanced technical concepts for the sake of sounding fancy. Things just need to be written at a level where people can pick up what you’re talking about and move on happy when they learned something new.

The guiding rules I follow: content that shouldn’t be long, easy to follow for people not into the healthcare field, easy to Google about and verify because what is the damn point of sharing content you are passionate about if people leave without understanding a damn thing. Impart knowledge without making it difficult for the reader to absorb, doesn’t matter if they find the knowledge practical, good if they actually do, but it’s more important that they learned something for their time clicking at least.

I still find the need to have a place for mentioning references in a STEM articles provided that you are imparting snippets of content you don't own, copy pasted somewhere else, or following community page guidelines for posting. But this practice needs to chill if one is just describing or retelling an observation from experience. Must I really tell you the supporting source for arriving at a conclusion that a ripe apple bears the color red?

If one finds it interesting to pursue the topic, they can interact further with author or just Google the subject on their own. It’s not that hard to push people to seek knowledge if they are already invested in the subject.
The reasonable approach is just leaving a comment asking for clarification on a piece unclear (gives me an idea that someone actually read the post in a platform that has a small user base that consume this type of content). This is a pet peeve I have when it comes to reading some of the STEM posts here, not all, just some posts, who are these content creators creating content for?

If you made it this far reading, thank you for your time.

References:
Shitposter under a different account name.

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I love your pathology posts, I am not a pathologist, and I don't have the experience to identify sometimes the things that you point out in the slides. I love the fluency of your text though.
I think that you added too much emotion to this text! I read some parts twice to try to see if I got it right. I was trying to find you, maybe, on Discord to see if I could have some points clarified, but I don't know if I can. So I will leave here my questions:

  1. What exactly motivated you in this post?
  2. Ok you are in favor of short posts, for me if it is a 300-words post and if you have passed through the steps of creation + passed information, I don't have any problem with it, it is ok. But I saw in here people getting a novelty in STEM topics and just reformulated the paragraphs, you can see similar paragraphs in the original text with different words, so what is the creative effort from the STEM author?
  3. It wasn't clear if you were against or in favor of adding references in a let's say "lay" text about a STEM topic. For example, once in a while, I read " scientists just said that eating the vegetable x can cause an effect y in your body" without a reference. So I need to go for this information to check if it is true or not. If I find some reliable sources of this information I usually post it in the comments as a recommendation for the next time to be careful on that. During the last two years, we had lots of fake news on the internet about the COVID pandemic, I think as a curator is a duty to flag something that isn't "kosher".
  4. What do you think about self-plagiarism here? There is a user that likes to mostly copy and paste his own scientific articles in here? It isn't a creative effort, since he is mostly copying and pasting figures and texts.

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I was about to write something along the lines above, with a few questions too to understand better the problem at stake. You were however faster than me. I will then just avoid writing anything in addition, and wait for the answer from the post's author.

I think you're missing one important point, and that is that in the STEM field, some people write primarily because the writer has gained new knowledge in which case, writing it down is both an excellent way of sharing and committing it further to memory.

Within the context of Hive, it would be the more selfish latter reason as no one reads anything of substance anyway. Spectrumeconomics is one of the best serious topic writers on Hive and the engagement on his incredible posts is appalling.

More proof if any were needed that 'rewarding' social media, or blogging is an epic fail. It breeds shallow posts purely designed to reap maximium benefit to the 'creator' . A shame as Hive ought to be a breeding ground for open debate and multi-opinioned writers on any number of topics but is generally just a place to post your holiday snaps.

I read you, because whatever you write, you make it personal and you are very readable. Long may you continue.

I like the personal approach towards learning something and retelling it in a relatable manner compared to a tone that one just reads out from any science article. Emphasis on the I and connecting it with experience like you are genuinely excited to learn this and that. Create the experience and retell it versus reading about facts and interesting stuff. I do not know how to explain it in a matter of words to justify the point but so this is a retell of how seeing my consultant react to new things with genuine appreciation for knowing something new.

Let's say a new category and subclass classification is out with an attached rationale how disease X used to be under AB, but then after molecular studies they discovered that its a different class and designated Disease X to B category. When I read the update, I was just meh, ok B category it is but my consultant looked at the paper and said wow, look at all these changes happening peering the journals referenced.

We both learned the same thing but appreciated it in different in extent. This was the gap in perspective that I failed to appreciate early and what made my consultant better in the field. They love what they do and enjoy the work while I just looked at the knowledge as something I struggle with. Now this is the type of passion I see lacking in some content here. What does it mean to share knowledge and what does the knowledge mean to you?

I look back on my posts, and I express being gross out, had a difficult time, and sometimes just felt like wow, aha moments towards what I learned but these are personal journies. I hardly get that satisfaction when reading someone that compiles articles on the subject.

like the personal approach towards learning something and retelling it in a relatable manner compared to a tone that one just reads out from any science article.

This is what matters most and gets me reading stuff that wouldn't be on my regular list of reading matter and what you do so well.

But this also shows that readers are attracted to the writer first and the subject matter second which is no bad thing.

If everyone wrote what they wanted and enjoyed writing about, as opposed to writing primarily for reward, the whole place would be a million times better

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 3 months ago 

That's funny you mentioned Spectrum's posts.

The truth is, some people will demand you put in "links and sources" in the name of them discovering more, but it's talk and borderline lacking social etiquette when the posts they are commenting on aren't even within their community jurisdiction.

If they were as studious as they claim, they would actually be making conversations in the comment section. It's 2022, learn to use search engines is what I would tell them.

a bunch of references on lightly spun content doesn't make it interesting. I prefer a dose of curious/ odd/ gross/ whatever

Some people are more interested in writing textbooks than showing what the textbooks meant. - enforcer48

I can't think of another phrase to put the thoughts right but this line above sums up why I pursued the manner I wrote my posts.

I think it's gone to a level where when I say this looks like an endometriotic cyst on grossing due to the typical features the specimen has to a colleague and they'd check and nod like I just showed them an apple being red.

But writing a STEM post here just sounds like I have to source the proof why endometriotic cysts got nicknamed chocolate cysts because they contain chocolate colored degenerated blood and this is the science why plus articles. To add some credibility. I get how the source the material became a thing after charlatans started posting for rewards.

 3 months ago 

Some people are more interested in writing textbooks than showing what the textbooks meant.

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 3 months ago Reveal Comment
 3 months ago 

If you are posting in the STEMGeeks community, it's a given that you are going for the more informal route.

As for me, I write whatever. We aren't here for the money like a lot of the so-called bloggers are.

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Reading this will definitely change my style of writing by always considering my audience first and not posting what just comes to my mind. Thanks for sharing

One should start with asking the question of whether they are interested in what they share and if they were a random stranger that happens to come by the same post they intend to share, would they read it?

I mean I could write a post about how great genetically modified crops is or how bad it is but I'm not interested in the topic at all and if I ever encounter the same topic on another page I'd skip it.