There are gender wars, and then there are casualties. It wasn’t until 2011 that the behemoth toymaker LEGO acknowledged girls’ desire to build with bricks, even though the company had long before made a seemingly effortless pivot to co-branding, video games, and major motion pictures. So it’s little wonder that girls face all-too-real obstacles when […]Read more
Tag: social media
Getting the community involved in contributing content to an online project is a great form of public participation, and also a way to build large repositories of content. However, the underbelly of community-generated content is bad taste, inappropriate content, and outright abuse.
This seedy side is particularly evident in social networks sites, where users upload photos from their cell phones. To keep it clean, social media sites hire legions of inexpensive laborers via crowdsourcing sites like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and CrowdFlower to screen uploaded content. (more…)
The vast majority of museums are totally ignoring mobile apps.
At present, ~350 iPhone apps have been actually created by museums. Of those, only one out of ten was created by a U.S. museum (the rest are non-U.S.). The other 760 iPhone apps matching “museum” in their title or description were created by travel and culture publishers, most of which are poor quality.
These pathetic numbers ignore smartphone reality. In the U.S. alone, half of all mobile phone customers now have smartphones, and there will soon be 1 million new smartphone (smartphones run apps) subscribers a week. This will be virtually all U.S. households in 5-7 years. Currently, Android and iOS are the two main app platforms. Numbers in Europe are similar. (more…)
Social networking gives professionals and enthusiastic members of the public a great way to connect and share information about scientific or cultural topics.
A niche social network can benefit small, grassroots projects as well as large institutions, achieving many objectives simultaneously. A social network allows members to e.g., exchanging information, making personal connections, fostering dialog and awareness on a topic, as well as fundraising or promoting products and services.
Here are some tips and considerations for getting started… (more…)
Thinking about launching a new niche social network for a science or cultural community of professionals? Think again. It costs a lot to do well, and there’s a major risk of failure. People don’t have much time to spend logging into yet another social network, and it’s hard to reach a critical mass so that the site is interesting for people to use.
On the other hand, many niche communities still lack a good way to interact online. So there’s a potential need for new social networks.
Ravelry.com (for knitters and crocheters) is a fantastic example of a thriving niche social network. It has over 1.4 million members (and my wife loves it: she spends more time in there than on Twitter or Facebook). A recent article about Ravelry in Slate talks about how “social sites work better when they’re smaller and bespoke, created to cater to a specific group.” Members share photos and swap tips on their knitting projects. The site was started by a husband & wife team, and now has a 4-person staff. Revenue comes from their online store and advertisers. (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…)
Today, Nancy Proctor, the head of mobile strategy and initiatives for the Smithsonian Institution, gave an online talk about Smithsonian’s mobile strategy.
Here are key points and comments Nancy shared about developing mobile products… (more…)
This weekend, I was a judge at a local chapter of National History Day (NHD). I judged web sites. Amazingly, these sites were much better than those of many small history museums. The students’ sites used a mixture of text, images, video and audio clips in a thoughtful way. This year’s theme was “Debate and Diplomacy.”
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: