The dark side of “Stop the Scroll”

I have had the pleasure of working communications roles in several industries over the years.  During this time, I’ve seen the rise of a dubious campaign metric commonly referred to as “Stop the Scroll” (or “Swipe”).  This metric has conscientious roots.  Online communications strategists have less than a second to grab a potential donor, stakeholder, or client’s attention.  Good strategists have read Craig McClain’s paper, as a great visual will make your thumb quiver before scrolling on to a video of dogs doing literally anything.  In this light, stop the scroll seems like a pretty good metric for individual post efficacy.  Time is the currency of experience, after all.

Can we count the seconds people spend learning untrue facts as progress towards our campaign? Or change the campaign goals to justify a resource-heavy shit post? 

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Remembering Walter Munk, a photo on a flash drive in a pile of poo from a seal at the bottom of the sea, lucky vikings, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: February 11, 2019

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Carsten Egevang goes looking for seals in Greenland and finds a photogenic guillemot instead.
This photo of a sealion on a Southland beach was found on a USB stick swallowed by a leopard seal. Credit: unknown
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To tweet to whom – a tweeting guide for marine scientists

Logic is a tweeting bird” – Spock, Star Trek

Social media can be a great tool for spreading and disseminating published science. Potentially it can reach a wide audience and for free !

Most platforms allow you to insert links to direct readers to the original paper or publication. If you are working in an area that is relevant to conservation or policy, social media can be a great way of getting papers to the right audience that may need that information (Parsons et al., 2014). Moreover, there is now increasing data that using social media can increase download and citation rates of scientific papers, which in turn is good for the careers of scientists in an academic setting.

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How goats got the bends, a new ship for VIMS, a new deep-sea submersible for all of us, our looming destruction, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: October 15, 2018.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Bends in the foreleg of a goat after experiments performed by physiologist John S. Haldane, published in the Journal of Hygiene Vol. 8, 1908.

Bends in the foreleg of a goat after experiments performed by physiologist John S. Haldane, published in the Journal of Hygiene Vol. 8, 1908.

Submersible. Photo courtesy Discovery.

Photo courtesy Discovery.

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Lions, Whales, and the Web: Transforming Moment Inertia into Conservation Action

I have a new paper out today with an incredible team of co-authors: Naomi Rose, Mel Cosentino, and Andrew Wright.

Thaler and friends (2017) Lions, Whales, and the Web: Transforming Moment Inertia into Conservation Action. DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00292.

In it, we look at three case-studies of online and offline reactions to the deaths of specific, charismatic animals, and discuss how preparation, planning, and tactical thinking can be used to promote effective conservation messaging in the wake of these haphazard events. We talk about how outrage, empathy, and curiosity play a role in the global conversation and how to effectively mobilize this attention into conservation action.

Conservation activism following moment inertia is a balancing act between strategic planning and a quick, tactical response. When the catalyst is moral outrage, it is important to allow people to be angry, rather than to try and curb such responses. In these circumstances, it is possible to leverage predictable moral signaling into tangible conservation gains.

Regardless of the emotional reaction—outrage, curiosity, or empathy—the general guidelines for conservationists leveraging moment inertia are the same. First, planning for pseudorandom events is essential to produce meaningful outcomes. Second, understanding the limitations of campaigning on an inertial moment will help establish and achieve concrete, realistic goals. Third, the call to action must be informed by the local context, address local cultural values, and be delivered by those who can connect with the public. Finally, it is critical to maintain a factual basis while acknowledging the emotions involved.

With foresight, a focus on concrete goals, and an understanding of the strengths and limitations inherent in moment inertia, these events can be harnessed to help achieve lasting conservation successes.

Thaler and friends (2017)

What is Moment Inertia: Moment Inertia is a phenomenon that arises from focus of attention around a single, clarifying event, or moment, which propagates, undirected, through media unless acted upon by outside forces.

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Hone your social media #SciComm skills with ocean science pros.

Looking to boost your ocean outreach skills in a more formal setting? We’ve got two opportunities for social media training with ocean science and ocean communications experts from Southern Fried Science:

LUMCON Summer Course: Join me at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium on the Gulf Coast for a week-long workshop on Science Communication Using Social Media led by yours truly. We’ll cover the foundations of social media platforms and best practices for communicating your research to both general and targeted audiences. We’ll also discuss metrics and measuring how effective your outreach really is.

Duke Environmental Leadership Program: For the fifth year, Dr. Amy Freitag and I will run Social Media for Environmental Communications, a 7-week, online-only course that digs deep into the fundamentals of using social media for environmental communications, provides a critical assessment of the available tools, and teaches student to design effective communications campaigns and assess their impact.

 

Combating fake science in popular media – six months later

As noted earlier, David and my paper on twitter, social media, Shark Week, and fake documentaries came out last week. Since scientific publishing has a “long tail” — the time between when we actually wrote the paper and when it was published, in this case, was almost 9 months — we thought it might be a useful exercise to discuss our paper in the context of the months leading up to and following the most recent Shark Week. Enjoy!

You can find the original paper here: Fish tales: Combating fake science in popular media.

A field guide to ocean science and conservation on Twitter, volume 2

Almost 2 years ago, we published our first field guide to ocean science and conservation on twitter. While the advice is still sound (and you should definitely read it), the recommended people to follow is now painfully dated. Here’s two updated lists of core people to follow on twitter to get yourself plugged in to the ocean science and conservation community.

New to the online ocean community? This list will help you get connected to the conversation by following key members of the community. Rather than a comprehensive collection of all ocean science and conservation broadcasters, this short list will help you follow along without becoming overwhelmed.

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2 opportunities to hone your online science outreach skills

Looking for classes on science, social media, and online environmental writing? We’ve got two classes coming up for undergraduate, graduate, and professionals students looking to hone their online outreach skills.

Social Media For Environmental Communications: taught this year by me and Dr. Amy Freitag, this course will be taught over 6 weeks this spring as an immersive online-only course–the course will be conducted entirely through social media platforms (primarily Google+ Hangouts). Sign up early as early registration ends on March 17 and space is limited. This will be our second year teaching the class, which was very well received last year.

Writing In The Digital Ecosystem: Effective Environmental Writing Through Social Media: A brand new course taught at the Duke University Marine Lab in scenic Beaufort, NC. Undergraduates from any institution looking for an educational experience on the coast can enroll in Summer Term II at the Duke Marine Lab. Plenty of other outstanding ocean science and policy courses are on offer during the same term. Graduate students enrolled in Duke’s Masters in Environmental Management program can also enroll.