Tag: outreach

Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit,” is a useful way to deliver scientific and cultural knowledge to the public. Wikipedia is the 5th most visited web site, with 400450 million unique visitors per month.

It’s not “merely a larger audience, but a different audience,” says Sara Snyder, webmaster for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, who has recently started to use Wikipedia more. She says, “Our main website is geared towards an academic-minded or university-level student, researcher, curator, or professional art historian. Yet we have information and collections that may inform or appeal to a broader set of folks, such as younger students and art enthusiasts.  Wikipedia is a platform for trying to start serving those researchers too, without overhauling the current way we do business or our existing website.” (more…)

There’s a great new video on YouTube, “I’m a climate scientist.” It uses gangsta-rap flavor to bring home the point that a lot of people talking about climate change are not actual climate scientists. Here’s the video, which contains some expletives:

If you are at work, or don’t like the word “F##k,” try out this clean version. Here’s the story… (more…)

Is the art enough? Probably not. Art museum revenues are falling and museums need to experiment with new business models and ways to build a buzz and relevance with young audiences.

Yesterday, art critic Judith Dobrzynski wrote in her Real Clear Arts blog about how an upcoming nighttime event at the Hirshhorn is elitist, flaunted, and inexcusable. Dobrzynski says, “I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, if museum officials don’t believe that art is enough, no one else will either.” What do you think? (more…)

Drones, spy robots, Mach 6 warplanes, new energy sources, and climate monitoring are just a few of the new technologies being developed by the U.S. military to fight the wars of the future. These technologies depend on cutting edge scientific knowledge, and are fantastic ways to get the military-oriented public (nearly 30 million Americans) excited about science and appreciative of the applications of scientific research.

The largest science outreach program telling the public about military-related science is a popular blog, Armed with Science, which features podcasts and short articles by scientists and other staff in various military departments.  (more…)

Social media can feel like you are talking to the world, but in reality there’s a lot of self-selection going on. So know your audience.

Before the Internet, the gatekeepers of public information (journalists, editors and producers) considered the needs of audiences for you. These gatekeepers would filter a fire-hose of information in press releases and technical publications to deliver a digested slivers of information via television news, tv, print, and trade press. Other kinds of technical information was discussed at conferences, at meetings, in journals or in private. (See my post about “Fall of the gatekeepers“)  (more…)

National security is a useful angle for presenting science, art and culture issues to disengaged or skeptical audiences.

Like any hook, such as sports or popular culture, military and national security themes broaden an audience for outreach. There are over 3.6M military personnel in the U.S., 1.9M spouses & kids of active duty members, and over 22M veterans, who also have families. (Stats on personnel & families, and veterans.)

There are several initiatives which are bridging the military world with the sciences and culture…


On Twitter, almost no one hears you. Or at least that’s the case for 99.95% of Twitter users whose Tweets evaporate into the aether, scrolling off the feed, leaving scarcely a trace.

According to statistics released last week by Twitter, users now send a billion Tweets a week (up nearly 3x from 350M a year ago). But most of those Tweets get little attention, reports a new study, to be presented next week at a web conference in India. The study found that attention is highly concentrated among a very narrow slice of Twitter users. Read on for more about the findings…

The term “strategic communications” has become popular over the last two decades. It means infusing communications efforts with an agenda and a master plan. Typically, that master plan involves promoting the brand of an organization, urging people to do specific actions, or advocating particular legislation.

It can refer to both a process, and to a specific job title.


Blogging is an increasingly important way for the public to learn about science and culture. Bloggers fill in the information gaps, as traditional publishers slash jobs for science and arts journalists. More important, for good or bad, bloggers remove the gatekeepers (editors, press officers) which previously stood between experts and the public.


Blog networks are collaborative blogs. They give readers an interesting destination, like a newsmagazine, with more content than blogs with just one or a few authors can usually offer. For bloggers, joining a blog network provides more visibility and respect, and allows busy bloggers who can only blog occasionally to build an audience. There are blog networks in most fields. Here’s a snapshot of (most of) the major blog networks in science and culture: