Social media does more than entertain users. It also serves as a compelling platform where creators can use their content to inform and inspire others about various topics.
Realizing social media’s potential to boost Filipino’s interest in science and technology, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council For Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) began a search for 10 persuasive TikTok influencers.
The mechanics for the Pinoy Science STAR (Science and Technology Advocates for Research) Camp 2022, in partnership with the social media platform, TikTok, were announced live on DOST’s Facebook page on August 22.
According to DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit, the winners will get $2,000 worth of TikTok promotional coupons and exclusive merchandise from Pinoy Science and TikTok.
“We saw this as an opportunity to expand our audience to the grassroots level. From then on, we have developed a series of campaigns to promote sci-com (science communication), and this year, we are launching the Pinoy Science Star, Science and Technology advocates for research or the STAR Camp,” Paringit said.
He added that besides the reward, participants get the privilege of exposure to their network of science communication experts. This opportunity will hone their knowledge and skills in science and technology fields that can be very useful for the present and future agendas.
The competition is open to everyone 18 years old and above, residing in the Philippines, and with an active TikTok account. STAR applicants must create and upload their video on TikTok containing their names, an explanation of the science behind a DOST-PCIEERD technology, and a justification on why they should be the next Pinoy Science STAR with the hashtag #PinoyScienceSTARako.
The application for this competition will run from August 22 to September 22. The announcement of 30 winners among the applicants who will proceed to the semi-finals is on September 22.
The selected semifinalists will train and attend workshops online for free to enhance and improve their skills in creating insightful and impactful content. Their challenge is to create content, including DOST-PCIEERD’s programs and research innovations.
The top 10 from the submitted entries will be selected and move forward to the finals. STAR Camp: The Finale will be a face-to-face event from October 26 to 28, for more interactive and hands-on training for the participants. Entries with the best content will be part of the Pinoy Science STAR.
Dr. Paringit encourages researchers, scientists, practitioners, science communication practitioners, communication students, and those interested and willing to participate in this contest.
TikTok, a Chinese-owned company, is now widely used as a social media platform. According to a survey found by the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of teens are using TikTok surpassing Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Mark Ivan Robles, a supervising research analyst, said that TikTok as their platform helped them tap influencers and content creators and helped their researchers embrace their crafts.
According to Robles, TikTok helped them in promoting the said competition. In addition, it was beneficial in sufficing prices for their winners. Last year, they conducted training on their science competition, exposing more influencers and content creators to their platform.
“We hope that through this partnership, we would be able to share the different projects, programs, and technologies that we have on Science Technology and Education,” Robles said.
Besides partnership, one of its primary goals is to expand its reach in different areas of the country. Robles stated that there are approximately 36 million TikTok users all over the country, which represents 1 percent of the Philippine population.
“Pinagyayabong natin ang partnership natin in such a way, tinitignan din natin how else we can engage yoong ating mga citizens on the platform,” Robles said. “We also see challenge of translating this research, something that is more accessible to these citizens kaya gumagamit tayo ng ganitong platform. Challenging siya kasi iba talaga siya, even compare[d] to other social media platforms, ito sinusubukan natin umabot sa ibang mamamayan through entertainment,” he added.