Social media for research impact


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Presentation by Mark Reed

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  • For me, the real promise of social media is in the potential it has to result in behavior change, change toward more sustainable behaviors through social learning. Now I’m not sure how many of you have come across the concept of social learning, but social learning is rather like the holy grail of sustainability. It is believed that through social learning we can achieve the significant shifts in societal behavior that we need in order to create a more sustainable world. Now much has been written on social learning, which I will attempt to consolidate in 3 slides! It is said that, for social learning to occur, there must be
  • A change in understanding or some kind of learning to have taken place
  • This change in understanding must move beyond the individual and diffuse to members of wider social units or communities of practice to which they belong
  • and this learning must spread, person to person through social interaction. In such connected times, social interaction, through social media can have significant consequences.
  • Classic social learning is where novel ideas spread from a group with close ties between them to wider society via weak network ties, or acquaintances.
  • Social media has had significant societal impact. Take the Arab Spring. The whole world watched the events in the Middle East and North Africa over a year ago with feelings of inspiration, fascination and awe – awe at the power of digital technology, at our ability almost to be part of it and to watch it in real time and the role social media had played in it.
  • Although these figures may now be somewhat improved, a 2004 study showed that up to 77% of conservation management was based on anecdotal evidence and discussion with friends and colleagues rather than research.
  • I would suggest that social media forms part of that anecdotal evidence, as research shows 75% of Internet users, use social media as a key source of information. Why the disparity?
  • Well, in part this may be due to the accessibility of scientific data. Journals alone are not easy to access, and often involve having to pay. However, there are increasing moves towards open access publishing and the UK aims to make all publicly funded research open access by 2014 with the EU to follow. Of course, this does not solve all problems, as accessibility is only one issue. Scientific language may also stop information moving to stakeholders, as may the time take to read and understand lengthy papers. What may be best is a variety of approaches.ccessto research slow, slow to publish also, but open access in UK by 2014 and EU to follow…
  • Social media enables the spread of sustainability concepts more rapidly through peer learning. People pay attention to what their trusted sources and friends have to say. Information moves rapidly between and across social networking sites through both technology features and also through key individuals active on multiple platforms.Products, messages and behaviours spread like viruses. Similar to medical epidemics, a handful of special people play an important role in starting idea epidemics.
  • This is a representation of what the social network of Jesus may have looked like. I’d like to use it to clarify the key roles of individuals in social media who may create these idea epidemics.  These are the Mavens, Connectors and specialists. Mavens are idea specialists. They are human databanks who are obsessive about details and about sharing them with others; Connectors are people specialists. They know a lot of people from every possible sub-culture and niche. They have an extraordinary knack for making friends and acquaintances out of everyone. They act as social glue by spreading ideas around; and Salespeople have the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing.  In the social network of Jesus, Jesus most often played the role of Maven and Connector, with the disciples acting as salespeople.  To spread concepts of sustainability it is important to have the integration of scientific and policy communities into social networks and within the roles of maven, connector and sales person. Such integration could have a significant impact on sustainability. In particular leading to improved governance, and social learning.
  • how do we implement a social media plan? Well the best social media plans involve elements that give people a reason to either do something, share something, or gain something. I’d like to briefly run through some case studies as examples of good social media campaigns.
  • So a basic template for a successful social media campaign involves some fairly simple elements. First you will need to consider what output you are trying to increase, then what action would support this, consider what would be a creative activity to support your chosen action, consider how it could be made more viral or into a contest and decide the reward from the contest.  An example may be trying to get people to make campus a more sustainable place, in order to do that you may want students to tell others about their ideal sustainable campus to raise awareness amongst peers, as an activity students could create short films illustrating their vision and the amount of money that would be needed to fix the problem which can be uploaded to a dedicated webpage. Students would then need to raise awareness of their video and campaign to get others to donate. Those that raise enough money get their idea funded.
  • and when you design remember to keep PUV in mind. Social media campaigns should be Personal Create designs with a personal hook in mind – cultivate the feeling of personal relevance, Unexpected People like consuming then sharing new information through social media. Pique their curiosity and reframe the familiar. Visual Show, don’t tell. Photos, videos – synthesize your thoughts with quick visuals. Visceral Design your campaign to trigger the senses: sight, sound, etc. – tap into emotions
  • As the biggest single buyer of palm oil in the world, Greenpeace targeted Unilever as a way to help clean up the industry behind much forest destruction. In April 2008 they launched the ‘Dove Onslaught(er) video) and linked this to a website and information on how to email Unilever. The video spread virally and led to many emails.  Public pressure from the campaign moved Unilever to support an immediate moratorium on deforestation for palm oil in South East Asia and to build a coalition of companies to support this moratorium. Including lobbying the major players within and outside the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, including Kraft, Nestle and Cadburys, as well as putting pressure to save forests onto their palm oil suppliers. Finally, Unilever agreed that they would lobby the Indonesian government to support the moratorium.
  • Into more familiar surroundings. In 2011, myself and colleagues launched the Sustainable Learning website as a means of hosting and creating greater impact for our research on knowledge exchange for sustainability. The site includes links to our twitter feed, a blog contributed to and commented on by academics, policy makers and practitioners, links to youtube videos, music videos and children’s stories about our research, a working paper series that can be contributed to by anyone as well as resources pages linking to our papers, and related work on Scribd and presentations from slideshare. The website, has been a successful way of moving away from sustainability research as usual.
  • Into more familiar surroundings. In 2011, myself and colleagues launched the Sustainable Learning website as a means of hosting and creating greater impact for our research on knowledge exchange for sustainability. The site includes links to our twitter feed, a blog contributed to and commented on by academics, policy makers and practitioners, links to youtube videos, music videos and children’s stories about our research, a working paper series that can be contributed to by anyone as well as resources pages linking to our papers, and related work on Scribd and presentations from slideshare. The website, has been a successful way of moving away from sustainability research as usual.
  • So to reiterate some of my earlier points, a social media plan should be organized around a central activity, make sure the word is spread daily via a number of different platforms which are integrated together for example, slideshares can be embedded in tweets and tweets can be posted onto facebook.  
  • In conclusion, social media offers a significant tool in creating a sustainable world. In an era of transparency, events that may have been easy to downplay in the past are now plastered across the Internet, they’d be hard to ignore even if you tried. Lucky for the future of our planet, these channels are being used in attempts to protect the earth. The environmental community has historically tried to reach the indifferent with documentaries, books, pamphlets and other forms of traditional media. In a world where we see more of our computer screens than inhaling fresh air, there have been significant moves to embrace social media.  We now need organisations and professionals working in academia and governance to embrace social media and take on the roles of maven, connector or salesperson. Creating a profile, sharing information and cultivating meaningful interactions within a community does take time—time that will extend above and beyond an average workday. But the viral impact of updating extended networks of family and friends in the evening about what one believes in and works on during the day cannot be underrated.
  • Social media for research impact

    1. 1. 1knowledgeexchangeIncreasing impact through
    2. 2. 2Social MediaFor Research Impact
    3. 3. What is social media?“A group of internet-based applications that buildon the ideological and technological foundationsof Web 2.0, which allows the creation andexchange of user-generated content”Kaplan AM, Haenlein M (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons 53: 59–68
    4. 4. What is social media?Put simply:Developing conversationsthrough digital media
    5. 5. Research impact“The demonstrable contribution thatexcellent research makes to societyand the economy”(HEFCE)
    6. 6. For your research to have impact, people haveto engage with, and act upon itPeople learn best from other people like them,who they trust
    7. 7. dialogue > engage > learn > apply
    8. 8. SocialLearning
    9. 9. changein understanding
    10. 10. beyond the individual
    11. 11. by socialinteraction
    12. 12. SLWhat is sociallearning (SL)?Reed MS, Evely AC, Cundill G, Fazey I, Glass J, Laing A, Newig J, Parrish B, Prell C, Raymond C,Stringer LC (2010) What is social learning? Ecology & Society 15 (4): r1. [online]A change in understandingThat goes beyond theindividual to become situated in social groupsVia social interaction
    13. 13. The promise of social media...Transformative ideas, attitudes andbehaviours that diffuse rapidly throughpeer-to-peer networks to affect sociallearning & change across spatial scalesHype...or reality?
    14. 14. Arab Spring
    15. 15. Through social media new knowledge can“go viral” in seconds...
    16. 16. > 1 hour before Obama’snews conference, KeithUrbahn (Chief of Staff toDonald Rumsfeld, justover 1000 followers)tweeted the newsRe-posted 80 times infirst minute, over 300times within twominutes
    17. 17. Then picked up by NYTimes reporter, Brian Stelter (>50K followers)
    18. 18. • By the time Obama addressed the nation at 23.30 EST,the news was being mentioned on Twitter 30,000times per minute• A number of others guessed the news earlier and wereignored – impact is about credibility of source as muchas it about connectedness
    19. 19. Fake…Wiped >$120B off stockmarket before correctedWrong…
    20. 20. 21But weuse itmore and more…
    21. 21. A 2004 study showed that up to77% of conservation managementactions are based solely onanecdotal evidence rather thanscientific data22Sutherland, W.J., Pullin, A.S., Dolman, P.M. & Knight, T.M. (2004) The need for evidence-based conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 19, 305–308.
    22. 22. 75% of Internet surfers use„„Social Media‟‟ as an informationsource23Forrester Research (2008)
    23. 23. 24
    24. 24. Decision-makers have access tosocial mediaWe have access tothe latest research25
    25. 25.  Tweets I sent from a recent conferencereached an audience of 21,000 Another tweet we sent reached >40,000 My last open access article reached anaudience of 7,000 via Twitter & was blogged This presentation has been tweeted 72times and viewed 3,904 times since 1stversion went online in 2011 Handout viewed >12,000 times onScribd
    26. 26. 3 wayssocial mediacan enhance your research impact27
    27. 27. 128Build stronger, widerprofessional networks
    28. 28. 229Extend the reach of your workMore peopleDifferent peopleMedia
    29. 29. 330Do better, more relevant researchLatest research findingsLatest funding opportunitiesFeedback from potential research usersBetter Pathways to Impact statements
    30. 30. Case Study31
    31. 31. building your strategy...
    32. 32. People learn best from other people – usually thosewho are like them and they can trust
    33. 33. MavenConnectorSalesperson
    35. 35. What output are you trying to increase?What action would support (increase) that?What would be a creative activity involving thataction?What is a way to take that activity and make it viral?What do they gain?
    36. 36. “PUVV”the basic design principles that grab people’s attentionPersonalUnexpectedVisualVisceral
    37. 37. Share + Do:Greenpeace: ‘Dove Onslaught(er)’
    38. 38. Share + Do + Gain:‘Sustainable Learning’39
    39. 39. Share
    40. 40. Do
    41. 41. Gain…42
    42. 42. Developing a social media plan:CentralActivityVideos, Words, PicturesSpread the worddailyHome portalSocial NetworksBlogsMessaged boardsForumsSocial bookmarkersContent sharing sites: YouTube, FlickretcEmails1. Organize your content arounda central activity, like an eventand/or contest2. Spread the word about yourcentral activity every dayusing selected social mediaplatforms: start conversations, makecomments, send messages, sharelinks, photos, videos, ask your community to invitetheir friends3. Weave your platformstogether
    43. 43. building your strategy...
    44. 44. Mark @lecmsr, @reluuplands, @sustainlearningThanks to Anna Evely @AnnaEvely annaevely.com
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