1) I was asked to tell you about using traditional media in sea grant. And then my colleague Pat Kight was to tell you about using social media. Thinking about it, I came to believe that a different sort of emphasis would be actually more stimulating and useful. I’ll talk a bit about using “traditional communication media,” but only after I’ve put it into a context of modern life that makes sense to me, and I hope, to you.
2) So, this is one way of looking at modern life – or at least the part of it that relates to information. We’re deluged with it – it’s hitting us right in the face. ||To put some constraints on the stream here, I’m going to talk about our economic environment, other people, and Sea Grant as an institution and how they affect you.
3) First I promised to talk about the economic context we’re working in. I’m not an economist, but. Economics is about the allocation of scarce resources in the world we live in. So here’s the world that some of our clientele work in. It’s obviously not the wheelhouse of a fishing boat 100 years ago . . . .notice the Apple logo, by the way. What is this economy about: Information, many would say. But is information a scarce resource?
4) Not hardly. In a world bombarded by information and by intense reminders of information, such as logos, something interesting happens . The average urban citizen, out and about, receives hundreds of “brand impressions” an hour. It seems a paradox at first that a wealth of information should create – not dramatic gains in knowledge, for instance, but instead,|| a poverty of attention. This is not news; it was expressed first back in 1971. But that’s modern life: Not information but Attention has become the scarce resource.
5) This may look like a photo of a woman’s back, but it’s really a summary of economic history. Folks associated with our program were involved in developing this point of purchase system that connected fishermen to hi-end consumers interested enough in where her food comes from to watch a video connected to a barcode that connects to her particular catch. That’s a nice example of how the attention economy is based on and includes it in previous stages of economic activity, from one oriented solely to producing food to an industrial economy with national markets to an information economy by which markets are managed to today’s attention economy.
6) So if attention is the scarce resource, how is it captured you might ask? Artists have known throughout the 20 th C. All about the Attention economy.|| Here’s a sculpture that one day appeared in the War Memorial at the university I went to, about 1969. What was it about? There were lots of opinions, some of them quite extreme, outraged, etc. An enigmatic statement about celebrating the world of life against the cold slabs of death. What is it that captures attention? External Stimuli . . . Which begins a dialogue.
7) What controls attention? External stimuli, first of all, that generates some sort of discussion/dialogue, which finally reflects on some goals that are important to the individual. The Web provides one perfect private place of convergence between stimuli, discussion and goals and is the example today of the attention economy at work, || as the phenomenon of user ratings indicates. From presumably independent user ratings, people draw information to take certain actions, ones that they find agreeable with their identity.
8) So, if we’re willing to trust the opinions of unknown others in inconsequential matters, why do Americans not trust the experts in consequential matters? As an example of the communication challenge here, relevant to those of us communicating science, let’s look at the research about climate communication. This is the cover of the much-publicized Six Americas study that’s composed of four surveys conducted in last four years. The so-called Six Americas are not very different demographically, but are dramatically different in their beliefs and actions.
9) Here are the discouraging numbers, particularly if you’re inclined to believe that if they just knew the scientific facts they’d act accordingly. Today 39 percent of Americans are in the two groups most concerned about climate change - the Alarmed and the Concerned - and a quarter of the population in the two groups least concerned about the issue - the Dismissive and Doubtful. So, the climate science has been presented over and over during the last two decades and yet most Americans are not really concerned. Why is that? Those who believe in science tend to think that if the nonbelievers just received an account of the facts they would believe.
10) Social scientists have tried to understand what underlies this spectrum of beliefs we just looked at. And I’m going to give it away so you don’t have to read all the literature: it’s values. Americans see the world through distinct cultural worldviews which color their reception to such things as supposed science facts. Very interesting and persuasive (to me) survey research by a group of researchers demonstrates that there are fundamentally four such value orientations, labelled here. There are two poles, and two dominant quadrants: UL and LR. What you think are facts in culturally disputed topics depends on your values: thus, in one study, those with individual and hierarchist views rated global warming as a problem if nuclear power was submitted as a solution, but not if renewable energy way; and the oppose for those with egalitarian and communitarian views. According to these researchers, people who subscribe to a “hierarchical” worldview believe that rights, duties, goods, and offices should be distributed differentially and on the basis of clearly defined and stable social characteristics (e.g., gender, wealth, lineage, ethnicity). Those who subscribe to an “egalitarian” worldview believe that rights, duties, goods, and offices should be distributed equally and without regard to such characteristics. People who subscribe to a “communitarian” worldview believe that societal interests should take precedence over individual ones and that society should bear the responsibility for securing the conditions of individual flourishing. Those who subscribe to an “individualistic” worldview believe that individuals should secure the conditions of their own flourishing without collective interference or assistance.
11) SG, an institution built to distribute specialized knowledge, operates in a marketplace limited by attention, framed by values. Should that affect how we communicate ? Yes, depending on whether we have the others attention or not.
12) Here’s one small piece of advice, as you will hear this expression, I predict, countless times in your career. Getting the word out is sometimes all that passes for communication, and unfortunately, it’s based on a very common model of “communication: -- actually transmission technology described in 1949 by engineers for Bell Telephone. But something was missing || feedback (information which a communicator gains from others in response to his own verbal behavior). I think most of us recognize the importance of feedback – two way flow – as part of a communication system.
13) Two-way communication may be the norm in Extension, Social scientists talk about Sea Grant as a “boundary org,” working at the interface between several sectors that don’t always communicate well with each other, though they have some motivation to do so. We enable, facilitate, translate. This is a comforting diagram, and notion, but it jumps over the interesting part: how we actually come to understand what others think.
We can acknowledge the importance of a two-way flow of information between ourselves and others. How do we obtain it? Some of it happens informally or by osmosis while working, perhaps a lot of it does. Osmosis linked to a Logic Model, perhaps. But sometimes there’s no substitute for empirical research. QUOTE. Here’s one of our publications on methods, designed for Extension folks. It’s about the method of Mental Model Interviewing. . . . A subject for another talk . . . . But the point is that there ARE methods of empirical study that you should know about and be able to use.
Armed with your empirical understanding of the needs and other variables of importance in the communication context you’re working in, you may decide you want to develop a communication product. Who knows, it might even be one in a traditional medium, such as print. Your program communication office and its professionals can help. In our case the process begins with an online questionannaire that we call a . .. critical questions we ask are who are you trying to reach, what are your objectives, and how will you know if you’ve met them?
I’ll turn to one concrete example of a Communication project done with Extension folks that will bring a number of the topics I’ve highlighted into sharper focus, I hope. So, you’ve decided you want to produce a video, for example. Here’s the splash screen on the final, produced DVD. But that was later in the process, after we conducted empirical research. In this case, interviews, focus groups, and a substantial survey.
Our research and engagement project was designed to assist coastal communities in preparing for climate change in Maine and Oregon. Here are some results from the survey research in Maine: Conducted by mail; 548 respondents. We were looking for information to guide the development of the video to assist their decision making. In black underline are certain key variables we were interested in understanding about our audience, namely about their attitudes, norms, and sense of self-efficacy relative to the issue of protecting their coastal property from the effects of climate change, primarily SLR and erosion. Respondent Population : Coastal prop. owners; 58% male, 43% age 51-65 .
Why did we ask about attitudes, norms, and self-efficacy, to plan our communication? Well, If you hope to influence a person ’s behavior, and ideally assist in a change, it helps to have a model of behavior change. The integrative model of behavioral prediction offers the convenience of a clear diagram that helps communicators recognize two key research insights—that behavior change typically does not occur without an individual’s intention to change a behavior, and intention has three determinants. These three determinants -- attitudes, perceived norms, and self-efficacy -- are also where to look for barriers or hindrances or contradictions —what stands in the way of intention and action. Thus, the communicator would want to know if the person • believes (or, in the case of a barrier, does not believe) that adopting the behavior will lead to “good” outcomes [see “Attitude” in the integrative model] • believes (or does not believe) that Others think he or she should adopt the behavior and is motivated by their view [ “Perceived norm” in the model] • believes (or does not believe) that he or she is capable of taking action [ “Self-efficacy” in the model] The essential point: Barriers the target population have are essential to know if you hope to communicate successfully with them.
Here ’s how we applied survey results to the model to guide our communication. Our climate experts were very concerned about sea level rise and wanted us to influence coastal property owners faced with sea level rise to consider individual and collective action in their self-interest. In order to suggest their self interest, we’d first want to be clear on the facts of the situation. Scientists can give us those facts and, importantly, when quizzed by those who are trying to help the property owners make decisions, were able to focus on a few prudent measures: buffering properties with vegetation and modifying home structures. Meanwhile, we conducted behavioral research with the target population to try to understand how they understood the problem. As you saw in a previous slide, they told us that the believed engineering solutions don’t work and they didn’t have enough information to make decisions about their structures. Our job on this topic then was to address their concerns through explanations by trusted sources.
We organized the video to give grounds for prudent actions, “framing” the story as a potential for gain by presenting credible cases for preparing and acting responsibly even under uncertain conditions. The bottom clip is with a homeowner who tells why and how she made structural improvements to her shoreline home.
The photo of the governor in training (from Olson ’s book) underscores that this slide is about mass communication and the four organs of mass communication that need to be activated. As communication researchers have paid attention to the feedback they ’ ve received they ’ ve come to recognize that the old “ information transmission ” model of communication is often unsuccessful if it appeals just to the head. People process information emotionally as well as analytically. Scientists tend to stay in their heads, but you connect with a broader audience if you include some heart – for emotions; the gut, for humor and gut feelings or instincts; and well, if you or your subject have sex appeal, so much the better.
So, that’s what we did in this example of an indepth project, an example of collaboration between Extension and Communicators. To put that collaboration in context I want to show the results of a survey of network communicators conducted at the end of last week. SPEAK TO SLIDE>
Elaboration of previous. For some comparisons, Extension support is line 2 from top, 78% of programs devote 20-30% of all Comm FTE to Extension projects –red and green bars. That compares to the 15% of programs that give research projects the equivalent FTE of support. Extension gets more than 5 times as much attention as research does.
Another question asked about the frequency with which Ext personnel request certain services from Communications. If you look at the green bars only they stand for > 15 requests per year for certain services: consultation, print materials, and web pages are the big requests. Second from bottom, note the extent of the brown bar at left, that stands for never: and the item is “evaluation of products produced for Extension.” About 8 programs report they never get a request to evaluate an Extensiom product.
So, I hope I haven’t just deluged you but given you some additional insights on the environment of information, attention and communication we work in; some broad perspective on the sorts of functions that Communicators in Extension perform and an indepth example of working from obtaining empirical information about a target population and crafting a video that would influence behavior and support decision making.
We have a flyer that describes a number of publications in our [READ IT] series, some of which I’ve drawn on for today’s talk. Display copies of the pubs I can leave this week.
Again, I’m not an economist, but I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb here, to summarize a kind of trajectory of economies in the developed world: from agriculture to attention. The success of each prior stage in producing the most important resources that were considered scarce sets the conditions for the next stage. The stages don’t disappear, they’re nested within, the way I see it. In the PNW, the bottom line here gives an example of what this economic restructuring looks like: salmon etc.
Let me frame what we'll be talking about: yes, use of media, but media are tools; question is, what's the job? What you trying to accomplish? SG speak: objectives? And in Logic model: Outputs and Desired outcomes So, in my view, Sea Grant makes too much of the distinctions between Ext and Comm. From my perspective we're both communicating, using diff methods, and closer collaboration between us is the way to go. It ’s not really communication, at least not in the sense of two-way flow, the give and take we all recognize from our own lives. The communication model that I’ve been using and that I’ll focus on for the rest of the talk is one that comes from behavioral decision research. Yes, I’ll explain the diagram briefly, but the key element to notice that’s essentially been missing so far is the presence here of “users” – the people you’re trying to reach. In my context of science videos, the goal is to Help Viewers make choices/decisions, which Depends on understanding those decisions and Depends on understanding those viewers. How does this happen? The typical model of popular science communication, think of the usual NOVA, is that a scientific expert is interviewed on camera and that ’s it, that is, the people involved in science communication are the elements at left and right in the diagram here – Scientist and Communicator. This model adds social scientists ( – read boxes)
From my perspective we're both communicating, using diff methods, and closer collaboration between us is the way to go. But that's me. How about the network? SG Network overview (from survey)
So, the preceding slides have provided hints, but If you’re trying to move people from attention to action, is there a clear path to follow>? Communication scientists haven’t been asleep during the last 50 yrs. And here’s an early attempt to schematize a hierarchy of steps that would be accomplished by communication starting with attention. Pay attention > Comprehend> Believe> Remember> Behave accordingly > Action!! Well, you have to start somewhere and it’ s not bad as a description, but it ’ d be a mistake to think of this as a prescription for communication. One of the big problems is that it doesn’t seem to take into account other people.
Modern Life: Attention, Communication and You
Modern Life! Attention, Communication, and You Joe Cone, Assistant Director & Communications Leader
“ A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. ” (Herbert Simon, 1971) “ A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. ”
Salmon as food . . national markets . . salmon management . . barcode
What does the U.S. Public believe or know about Global Warming? The Standard Source: Six Americas research; 4 nationally representative surveys of American adults, aged 18 and older, 2008-2011 Science Facts: Why Do Americans Disbelieve?
Sea Grant Extension is a “ Boundary Organization ”
“ Empirical study is absolutely essential <ul><li>. . . to the development of effective communication. There is no such thing as an expert in communication in the sense of someone who can tell you without empirical study how a message should be framed, or what it should say. ”* </li></ul>* Morgan, M. Granger, et al. (2008). Best Practice Approaches for Characterizing, Communicating and Incorporating Scientific Uncertainty in Climate Decision Making , U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
Oregon Sea Grant’s Communication Support Request Form
Maine Survey Shaped Video to Motivate Target Population Cone, J. (2011). Creating Science Videos that Can Affect Behavior. Manuscript submitted for publication.
Survey Identified Key Target-Population Variables <ul><li>Attitudes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>85% - individuals should prepare for the effects of climate change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>79% - would rebuild if their property were seriously damaged by natural forces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>BUT: 24% - engineering solutions to control nature do not work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Norms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>52 % - likely-to-very likely to “ take action against damage due to natural forces ” if “ my neighbors did similar things ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Self-efficacy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BUT: 27% do not have the information needed to make a decision </li></ul></ul>
So You Want to Influence Their Behavior? Decision
Our model: Nonpersuasive Communication CC . . . Sea Level Rise Projections Buffer property; Modify structures Modifications don’t work; Don’t understand methods Use trusted sources to explain options
Resilient Coast: Video Strategy <ul><li>Acknowledge user values and </li></ul><ul><li>perceptions </li></ul><ul><li>Support constructive attitude </li></ul><ul><li>with trust </li></ul><ul><li>Support benefits, </li></ul><ul><li>reduce barriers </li></ul>
Oct. 2011 Communicator Survey Results <ul><li>Online survey: 30 responding programs; anonymous </li></ul><ul><li>To reflect on the responsibilities and relationships of communicators within Sea Grant programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Q1 below shows % and (#) of respondents indicating % of Comm. FTE devoted to Extension support. 24 of 28 programs devote 20-50% of FTE to Extension. </li></ul>
Why social media? If you want to engage the public, you need to meet them on their own ground.
Before you start, consider: <ul><li>Who do you want to reach? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you want to say? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you want to say it? </li></ul><ul><li>How will you get it to the people you want to reach? </li></ul>
Case studies: Different blogs for different purposes <ul><li>Words from a Wet Vet (replacing a newsletter for a specialized audience) </li></ul><ul><li>H2ONC (broad topical engagement and education) </li></ul><ul><li>An Educator At Sea (special project chronicle) </li></ul>
How will I find the time? <ul><li>Post short, timely items. </li></ul><ul><li>Compose quickly, spell-check, send. </li></ul><ul><li>Reuse existing material. </li></ul><ul><li>Redistribute widely </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing is the currency of social media. Encourage readers to share your posts. </li></ul>
Use the tools you already have <ul><li>Email lists </li></ul><ul><li>Print mail lists </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail signatures, business cards </li></ul><ul><li>Mention it at meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Post to FaceBook, Twitter, etc. </li></ul>
Grab those metrics <ul><li>Social media user stats, blog server stats. </li></ul><ul><li>Google Analytics (free!) </li></ul><ul><li>Blog comments, retweets, Facebook “likes,” etc. </li></ul><ul><li>When in doubt, survey your followers. </li></ul><ul><li>If it’s not working, change it! </li></ul>
Welcome to the future. Enjoy! bl ogs.oregonstate.edu/osgprojects