Socratica is now an Amazon Influencer

Socratica doesn’t have any beauty recommendations for you. 


It’s fun, we just don’t have anything to contribute here.


And we don’t do Follow Me pictures.  We’re mostly sitting at our desks, working. 

follow me field

Kudos to Murad Osmann for popularizing this new style of photo.


But we can recommend great books ALL DAY LONG.


cornell library

THIS we can do!


I thought “Influencer” was a term only used for YouTube vloggers and the beautiful people on Instagram.  I’m happy to learn I was wrong!

Amazon has opened the doors of its Influencer Program to a wide variety of YouTube channels. This is an opportunity for these channels to share their favourite products, and for all of us to buy from their storefronts as a way to support these channels. The creators receive a small percentage of every purchase made through the links on their storefronts.

And now… Socratica is an Amazon Influencer. Did not think this was going to happen. But here it is, our new storefront:


Some clear pros and cons:


  • Easy to Use – I got this up and running in under 5 minutes.
  • Easy to Update
  • Includes pictures of items


  • Not customizable – we’d love to break this into sections (Math, Chemistry, Film Equipment)
  • No place to write blurbs. Let us say WHY we’re recommending a product.


I’m all for exploring alternate revenue streams, since YouTube ad revenue is not nearly enough to support a business.  So we set up our shop, and we’ll start sharing the link, and we’ll see what happens.  Let us know what you think (or if you have any other ideas to fund our scicomm work at Socratica).

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Photoshop for Beginners


I generally do all my work in Adobe Audition, Premiere, and After Effects.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of Photoshop, but more and more I see it recommended that we use Photoshop for making thumbnails for our YouTube videos.


When we started making YouTube videos, we didn’t have any choice about the thumbnails.  YouTube gave us 3 images to choose from, automatically generated from somewhere in our video. As you can imagine, they didn’t make for the most interesting, eye-catching thumbnails:


This is pretty…terrible.

Thankfully, after a couple years of this, YouTube relaxed the restrictions and allowed us to generate our own thumbnails.  Video thumbnails can almost be thought of like mini movie-posters.  How can you tell the story of your video in the blink of an eye?


This might be easier if we made videos about strawberries.

At some point, we need to go back and make decent thumbnails for all of our old videos. Fingers crossed we can raise enough money on Patreon to be able to hire an assistant to help us with this kind of work!

But for now, we’re on our own, so we need to carve out a little time and energy to make sure all of our newest videos get the royal Photoshop treatment.

Now we’re not planning on going crazy.  We don’t need to look like fashionplates or anything:


These are both quite terrifyingly beautiful.

No, no, we just need to make our thumbnails stand out a little more. Do a little colour correcting, add some text, and layer in a relevant image. Sometimes we can pull this off in Premiere right in the same file when we’re editing our video, like this thumbnail we made for Black Holes:


But all our sources say Photoshop is the way to go. It’s just more flexible and you can do so much more.  I’m ready to learn!

Today I read a book called “THE ULTIMATE BEGINNER’S GUIDE FOR MASTERING ADOBE PHOTOSHOP!”  I wouldn’t call it the Ultimate guide.  I was able to read it in about an hour, and it walked me through the basic menus and toolbars.  It did let me know that the toolbar was roughly broken into sections: selection tools/ pixel editing tools/ text & vector editing tools/ and navigation tools.  See, I didn’t know that.  But it didn’t tell me nearly enough to MASTER Photoshop.  I think they oversold the title a little. It didn’t even tell me what’s the point of flattening layers, and I really want to know what that’s all about.

Anyone have a set of #photoshop tutorials they can recommend? Much obliged!


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