Ishrat- Good afternoon and welcome to “Ishrat and Friends”, where I invite a few friends every week for a little chat. Today I have with me, Brandon, Will and Lillie. Hey everybody.
Everybody else- Hey!
Ishrat – Today we will be talking about social media and its uses in science.
Everybody else – ok…
Ishrat – In recent years, social media has reached an all-time high in popularity. Sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are able to connect people from around the world through text, photos, videos, and many other mediums of communication. While social media is growing in popularity, it has attracted a wide range of conflicting opinions and “beef”. Personally, I love social media, so I’m all for it. What do y’all think about social media?
Lillie- SPEAKING OF “BEEF” and social media and stuff, I just read an article from Georgia Tech that talked about how their researchers used Instagram to gather data on food deserts.
Ishrat- Let’s check that out for a little bit then.
Will- Wait… So… what’s a food desert?
Brandon- It says here that “The USDA identifies food deserts based on the availability of fresh food.” So I’m guessing a food desert is a place where you can’t easily find fresh food.
Will- Oh, ok.
Ishrat- So what is the actual difference between food in a food desert and the food not in food deserts?
Brandon- The article says “Fruits and vegetables are the biggest difference,” which is interesting. You would think that more expensive menu items like steak might be less prevalent in food deserts because if you think of somewhere that doesn’t have access to fresh food, it’s probably also a poorer area.
Will- Ya it also breaks it down by region which is cool. It says that Southeastern food deserts usually have….. bacon, potatoes and grits, while their neighbors in non-desert neighborhoods have….. collard greens, oranges and peaches. The Midwest has…… hamburgers, hot dogs, brisket, and beans, vs… spinach and kale outside the food deserts. The West has….. more pie, beef, and sausage in its food deserts but….. quinoa, apple and crab outside of them. Annnd, the Southwest has…. barbeque, pork and burritos against….. tomatoes, asparagus and bananas.
Ishrat- Wait, How exactly did they gather all this data from social media though?
Lillie- It says that the researchers used “three million geo-tagged posts on Instagram. The researchers found that food posted by people in food deserts was 5 to 17 percent higher in fat, cholesterol and sugars compared to those shared in non-food deserts areas.”
Ishrat- Alright that’s neat guys. … What do you think would be the difference if the researchers at Georgia Tech had not used Instagram to gather their data?
And we have about 2 minutes left guys.
Lillie- I bet it would have taken a lot longer to get the data, like.. They would have had to make polls and surveys which could have taken weeks or months longer to gather enough meaningful information.
Will- Yeah I agree. Gathering data is quite painful when you have to start from scratch. Drawing up a survey, getting responses and then assimilating it to some sense sounds like a lot of work.
Brandon- Using Instagram might also have affected their research findings. You have to take into account that the food people post to instagram isn’t necessarily what they’re actually eating on a regular basis. But it’s definitely something they enjoy eating. I mean I wouldn’t put up a picture of kale salad.
Ishrat- That’s true. Another interesting point the article makes is that “Pictures of meals that are most likely to be posted by both groups tend to be the staples of each region. Steak and coffee in the West; lox and cheesecake in the East; okra and biscuits in the South.” I guess that that means that although food deserts can be a factor of what you eat, in the end, people will generally eat what their region is known for.
Brandon- Yeah I agree
Lillie- Going back to the social media aspect of the article, I find it amazing that they were able to gather so much information simply from the pictures people posted on the internet.
Will- Ya it is fascinating how far science in general has come. I mean who would’ve thought that social media could someday be used to gather real, scientifically applicable data. It’s crazy to think about even now.
Ishrat- Yeah I mean to think that what we post on social media today could potentially be used to help out some sort of scientific research in the future simply blows my mind.
Will- But it’s also kind of scary to think about. I mean I know most of the public would have access to what I post on social media, but the fact that it could be used to draw conclusions without me even knowing about it, is slightly concerning.
Brandon- I guess so, but I’m sure there’s a well spread out net of legal complexities to prevent such information from leaking through to just anyone
Lillie- I certainly hope so.
Ishrat- Alright people, I think we are about out of time today. Thank you so much from dropping by you guys. I hope everyone has enjoyed listening and I will see everyone next week on Ishrat and Friends!
Reflecting on our Transforming Tech Science Project, I believe my group and I did a decent job at transforming the original text to an alternate form, while still relaying similar information. The project ideas at first we very different than the final product since we were first planning to do a photo essay or informational advertisement, but after discussing with each other, we decided to do a podcast/video in the form of a talk show. Our group was able to manage time well and finished the project in a timely manner which made the project not too taxing on our precious time. I believe everyone in the group contributed to some degree on the project and, I made sure that I was working on the project as much as possible. As for challenges, it was very difficult to create a smooth script for the podcast/video, without the sentences sounding fake or scripted, and finding time to work together was also difficult since our group was always busy at different times. Deciding what to transform the original text into was also an issue of itself since we ended up spending several hours as a group pushing ideas and thoughts forward until we pinned the podcast down. Although not very conventional, I believe the talk show managed to portray all of the information in the article very well, while also allowing us to expand on points not elaborated on specifically in the text. If I could change anything about the revised text, I would make the talk show sound more realistic and add some more humor into the script. Otherwise, I believe that our group successfully transformed the text’s rhetorical situation, audience, medium, and much more to the best of our ability.