Ocean Sciences Meeting 2012

EVM07: The Role of Social Media in Ocean Science and Conservation (Workshop)

Monday February 20, 18:00 – 19:30, Room 251 A, B, D, E
Organizers: Miriam Goldstein, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, mgoldstein@ucsd.edu; Andrew Thaler, Duke University, andrew.david.thaler@gmail.com; Rick MacPherson, Coral Reef Alliance, rmacpherson@coral.org, Holly Bik, University of California at Davis, hbik@ucdavis.edu

Social media platforms have made it possible to access and disseminate information quickly, while bypassing gatekeepers common to traditional media. Ease of accessibility and the pervasiveness of social media provides a powerful tool for reaching many people directly. Experts can interact with the general public, leaving it to the audience to judge the value of their work. These tools for education, outreach, and activism have drawbacks. Without the quality control provided by editors and fact checkers, misinformation can be rampant and credibility compromised. Complicated messages can be difficult to deliver, target audiences can be challenging to segment, and there are few metrics for success. The objective of this session is for participants to share and discuss their experiences using social media for public outreach. We encourage participants to present specific examples, challenges, and lessons learned, and to discuss positive or negative interactions with online media. We also encourage broader, conceptual discussions of the role of social media in scientific and conservation discourse. This workshop will be a moderated but informal discussion, and we encourage participation from all attendees.

Below is a general outline of potential topics. We would like to hold this workshop as an open discussion - please feel free to edit the wiki and suggest topics or projects you would like to discuss.

So you want to communicate science online: how to get started
  • General philosophy of online communication - telephone not a megaphone
    • Not about technology, about people
    • Like a cocktail party - be personable, informal, humerous
    • Online engagement can be what you want it to be
      • Being part of the conversation doesn’t mean trashing or being trashed

  • The best and worst that can happen
    • Best:
      • get help with your science, at an early stage
      • you need an online presence
      • learn the latest statistical and methodological techniques
      • a new science community
      • new way to be a science leader
    • Worst:
      • Jai story: grad student locked out of field site due to editorial in local paper re: farmed salmon.
      • Arsenic Life (at least from Felisa Wolfe-Simon’s perspective)
    • BUT: mostly the online world is just a conversation about science! Neither the best nor the worst happens very often - mostly you just talk about cool stuff in a reasonably civil way.

  • The elements of science online - blogs are content, social networks are signposts to content and both are very important
    • Blogs
      • No abstraction (R blogs)
      • Some abstraction: scientists talking to other scientists (EEB and flow)
      • Quite abstracted: science outreach (SEA plastic blog)
      • Extremely abstracted: science journalism
        • General audience writing with primary audience already interested in science (NYT Science section, Not exactly rocket science)
        • EVEN MORE abstracted: General audience writing with audience not specifically seeking out science (Slate, Yahoo News, Huffington Post, mainstream news websites)
      • Life in academia (Dr. Isis)
      • Blog aggregators (Research blogging, Science Seeker)
    • Social networks
      • Twitter
      • Facebook (personal vs. Pages)
      • Google+
      • Tumblr

  • How to get started
    • How to figure out what your goal is
      • Read some of the links in jai_bookmarks.html - what appeals to you?
      • Passive participation - start watching the existing conversations
        • Compare to reading to journal articles before starting to write them
      • Start curating content on social networks
      • Start creating your own content (blog, podcast, video, etc.)
      • You can stop at any step - but being part of the conversation is the key

  • List of resources with specific how-to advice
    • How to blog
    • “Tweeting for Dummies” - Resource on how Tweeting works (Tweetdeck, hashtags, @-replies, etc.)? Does anyone know of a good one?
    • Same for other common social media apps - FB pages, Tumblr, G+