Last year, maybe October, I was listening to an episode of the She Explores Podcast. The guest spoke about the role of social media in her work in a way that really struck me. The analogy was basically this: social media is a window into our lives, and we control the size of that window. People want to peek in, but if you make the window too big, you might make folks uncomfortable. If we make the window too small, it may fail to serve our purposes. I’ve been walking around with this tidbit in my shoe for months. How big is my window? Have I made it too big for online platforms I strive to keep more professional (Twitter, Tumblr, this blog)?
Then, last week, two Twitter hashtags caught on pretty much simultaneously. #DressLikeAWoman was born in response to an anonymous leak claiming Donald Trump likes female staff “to dress like women.” (Whatever that even means.) #ActualLivingScientist was started by Dr. David Steen, reportedly in response to a 2011 survey reporting 66% of Americans can’t name a single living scientist. Obviously, I adore both these things. First, I love it when the ladies of Twitter clap back, but when lady scientists join the fray, I get extra pumped. Second, I love how folks in the #ActualLivingScientist feed distilled their work down to a single tweet. It’s good practice for learning how to communicate our ideas outside of our own community.
Yesterday, it clicked. The coupling of these ideas represent why this blog is so important to me. If I ever made my window too big, or the only reason I even made a window, was so folks would know what it was like to be a scientist. But more than that, Meridith and I wanted people to see what it was like to be young, to be in graduate school, to be a woman, to be from the south, to be frustrated, to be uncertain, to succeed. I’ve always said that Sweet Tea, Science was a science lifestyle blog. I stand by that now more than ever. We are actual living scientists, and these are our lives.