Elke HEMMINGER, University of Applied Sciences Bochum, Germany
Current research into the role of social media in science communication focuses mainly on proplematic processes and dynamics, e.g. fake news, pseudo science or conspiration myths. Social media can, however, have strong positive effects on science communication as well. Especially opinion leaders and social media stakeholders can function as role-models and science communicators with an enourmous range and impact on the opinions of their followers. Innovative formats, some of them developed under the pressure of the isolation regime during the Covid pandemic, take the 'social' of media like Instagram onto a new level, e.g. by going live during video sessions and interacting with followers directly and in real time. These formats further increase the possibilites for social media stakeholders to act as role-models and opinion leaders.
This paper will present an explorative study of instagram content concerning science communication by Instagram celebrities. The paper will analyse factors that qualify the content (and the respective content producers) as stakeholders and role-models for science communication. It will also explore the question of how Instagram personalities can support an analytical and open discourse about science topics.