Southeastern Section - 68th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 21-6
Presentation Time: 3:40 PM


SMITH, MacKenzie A., Biology, University of Florida, 220 Bartram Hall, P.O. Box 118525, Gainesville, FL 32611

Teaching and generating interest are among the main goals of using social media in science communication. Measures of engagement such as likes, comments and shares can act as performance gauges to determine if generated content appeals to viewers. To explore YouTube videos as a social media form of science communication, we harness the myFOSSIL community as a case study. The myFOSSIL community promotes collaboration and information sharing across the spectrum of paleontological expertise on multiple social media platforms. Here, we take a preliminary examination of data gathered from the myFOSSIL YouTube account to see if the role video format (genre) or topic has an effect on user/viewer engagement. Ordination techniques were conducted in R to visualize the structure of the data given the engagement factors collected from the first 28 days of a video upload. This length of time was chosen because of its accessibility in YouTube Analytics and to reflect initial responses between video postings. Data were first examined by format type (such as show or webinar) and again by topic (such as preparation or collecting). This data visualization technique allows us to begin to further assess patterns within the data. The immediate understanding is that few patterns appear when examining the topic of the video, indicating topic is not driving user participation in YouTube interactions. Videos coded by format, however, plot out in groups. This suggests that the way in which a video is designed is more important than the content matter for engagement and type of engagement in the short run.