Attention Citizens! Presentation as part of the Citizen Science Workshop - Nicola Osborne, EDINA, University of Edinburgh


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Attention Citizens! Presentation as part of the Citizen Science Workshop organised by COBWEB, FieldTrip GB and the Open University, British Science Association Science Communication Conference 2014, 1st-2nd May 2014.

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Attention Citizens! Presentation as part of the Citizen Science Workshop - Nicola Osborne, EDINA, University of Edinburgh

  1. 1. Attention, Citizens! Some tips for communicating your Citizen Science project – and using social media to do it! 2nd May 2014 Nicola Osborne, COBWEB project team and EDINA Social Media Officer
  2. 2. Which Citizens do you want to reach? • What does a successful outcome look like for the project - who would you reach? • Target your key audiences… but be prepared to be flexible to who actually responds. • Engage from the start – get citizens in at design stage if possible, test and seek feedback repeatedly. • Prepare to work hard for attention – plan plenty of events, dissemination, ongoing communications to reach your citizens. Social media is part of that mix. • Take advantage of existing communities – organisations, online communities, peer networks can be a trusted and instant link to larger local groups of citizens.
  3. 3. Planning Social Media Content • Make the aim and call to action clear – how do citizens take part? What should they do? • Why should citizens take part? – Are they contributing to social/ecological/societal good (e.g. Click to Cure, OPAL) – Is there personal benefit to taking part? (e.g. GalaxyZoo’s naming and publications policy) – Is it fun? (e.g. FoldIt) – Is is just about exploring curiosity? Or being part of something bigger? (e.g. RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch) • How will their contribution be used? What will it mean? • Do feedback results and what they mean – and what the scientific impact is.
  4. 4. Social Media Channels: the basics • Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+, Instagram, etc. provide easy and widely used channels to support and maintain contact and engagement with your community…. • Specialist sites, niche social media, etc. may work best for particular communities (e.g. Flickr for photographers). Try stuff out, test the water. • Brand presences consistently, keep content relevant, human, and up to date, post often, listen and monitor regularly. • Cross promote and link up your social media, web presences, in person events, activities, press mentions, etc. • But remember that not everyone uses social media!
  5. 5. What works? A few suggestions… • Guest posts from influential bloggers and figures can have a big impact, bring own audiences. • Humanizing the project, team, and research builds trust and engagement. Live events/chats can be impactful! • Images and video are hugely sharable – make them calls to action that tie back to goals/timings/activities that are your priorities. • Reward participation– with acknowledgement, responses and thanking others for mentions. It keeps attention, builds respect. • Long term relationships count, treat all participants respectfully. • Reflect your audience(s) back to them – their successes, interests, personality.
  6. 6. Great Citizen Science Resources • European Citizen Science Association: • UK-EOF’s Understanding Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring: citizen-science.html Projects mentioned in these slides: • Click to Cure: • OPAL: • GalaxyZoo: • FoldIt: • RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch:
  7. 7. To follow up today… • Google+ Group for follow up Hang Outs: 32760144202 • Questions on the Google+ Group, via Twitter (@suchprettyeyes) or email ( welcome!