I’m happy to announce an exciting new feature for The Chemical Blog today – Interviews!
First in the series is Elise Andrew, founder of the Facebook Page, I Fucking Love Science. I also love science, so I was overjoyed when Elise took time out of her busy schedule to grant me an exclusive interview. For anyone who doesn’t know, IFLS is a Facebook community built for posting and sharing scientific updates, quotes, cartoons, jokes and photographs. On the 8th September Elise achieved a huge milestone with her page as it gained its millionth fan!
So here it is, The Elise Andrew Interview...
Name: Elise Andrew
Occupation: I work for the LabX Media Group as their Social Media Content Manager
Hi Elise! Thank you so much for giving The Chemical Blog an interview. And congratulations on passing a million followers! That’s an incredible achievement. How did it feel when you ticked over the magic million?
If I'm honest, very overwhelming. It's bizarre to think that more than a million people are seeing what I write and post – it still blows me away!
How did IFLS come about and what were your original expectations?
The page started about six months ago while I was still at university. I was always finding bizarre facts and cool pictures and one day I decided to create somewhere to put them – it was never supposed to be more than me posting to a few dozen of my friends. We got a thousand likes in the first day, and haven't looked back since.
What do you think makes IFLS so successful?
It's difficult to say. I know a lot of pages have tried to imitate our formula since, and none have done very well so I definitely think the fact that it was something brand new made a huge difference. As far as I know, no one on Facebook had ever combined humour and science in the way we do before we got started so the page was fairly unique.
Other than that, people seem to really enjoy the mix of humour and intelligence – people become so frustrated with the nonsense that's posted on social media every day, it's nice for people to have a page where they can come and laugh but still know that everything they see is accurate. I also think our name is a huge draw – it gives things a bit of an 'edge'. You immediately know that this page isn't going to bore you.
Science just blows my mind. I love learning...
Why do you love science?
Science just blows my mind. I love learning; I consider a day wasted if I don't find out something new. That's all science is really – the art of discovery, of learning. I remember the day I first heard Carl Sagan talking about how everyone is made up of stardust. I just wanted to run down the street shouting 'did you know this?, to paraphrase Neil deGrasse Tyson'
That made me chuckle. I see you studied Biology at University - what made you choose this?
As much as I'm passionate about all science, biology is my true love. My degree was heavily focused on animal sciences, ecology, evolution and genetics and those are still the areas in which my main interests lie. I'm a huge advocate of evolutionary theory and I'm still amazed by how controversial it is in some areas of the world.
What do you think the future has in store for I Fucking Love Science?
It's hard to say. The larger we grow, the more people get in touch with us and want to talk about collaboration. The name seems to be a love or hate moment, but it doesn't seem to be putting people off. We're currently chatting to the Science Channel about some ideas, but everything is very up in the air at the moment.
The name seems to be a love or hate moment, but it doesn’t seem to be putting people off...
Wow, exciting times indeed. Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Dozens of people. Although IFLS is a one woman show in terms of creation and direction, there have been so many people who helped me along the way. I own several other science pages on various topics (evolution, astrophysics and Earth sciences) and each of these has a team of volunteers who do absolutely amazing work. My fiancé who puts up with his partners Facebook obsession (seriously, I talk about the page in my sleep). Finally, there's a friend of mine named Huw who once had to talk me out of shutting the page down. When we hit 100k fans I started to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all, and considered closing it. Thank goodness he convinced me otherwise!
Absolutely, thanks a million Huw! Finally, if you could be any animal, living or extinct, what would it be and why?
Oooooh. That's a tough one. Part of why I love what I do is that I'm terrible at specializing – I considered doing an MSc but found it impossible to choose a topic. I want to study everything, I want to be everything.
If you really twisted my arm, I'd have to say an eagle. I'd love to be able to fly, and see the way they do.
Thanks very much Elise. The Chemical Blog wishes you the best of luck!
If you haven’t already done so you can follow the I Fucking Love Science Page on Facebook. If the name bothers you there is a child-friendly mirror page called Science is Awesome.
As ever, please post any messages in the comments section below!