During the past few days, I’ve discussed a lot about the quality of information and the channels through which it’s been spread. I feel that quite often it is difficult to get the message through, whether it is for the media, prospective students or those already studying and working in the university.
Svend, a journalist working for SCIENCE Communication, shared some aspects to his work. In his opinion, getting the message out to the public through the media requires quite a lot of popularization, but that has to be done without exaggeration. Also, according to him, the processes of science aren’t something people, in general, are very interested about, but instead it is the results, or the possible results that are still a thing of the future.
Svend doesn’t believe that media isn’t interested in science but the problem with not getting science into headlines has more to do with science not being brought to people working for the media with the kind of a tagline or curiosity that would raise immediate interest.
In addition to this, I’ve come across press releases that are about really interesting topics and researches, but after the title and introduction, the content of the release resembles the abstract of an academic paper. These kinds of releases might get through in magazines specializing in science but to get the wider attention of the media, I think we should popularize more.
Another thing that has been discussed quite a lot here is the use of social media. With regard to that, one of the fundamental problems, it seems, with both University of Helsinki and University of Copenhagen is the language. In both of them the Faculty of Science has a Facebook site in the native tongue, not in English, even though there is mutual a goal of becoming more international…
The problem with switching the language of the site to English, however, would be that majority of the events and contents that are currently being posted about on Facebook are not in English. Using two languages is one option, but what about the name of the page then? Should that be in the native language or in English? In my opinion, if the name of the page is not in English, most people don’t expect it to have content in that language.
There was also discussion about Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, the #s and the @s, and what have you. My first though was that in my work, I should be doing so much more to get the most out of social media. But after digesting that thought a bit, I started to wonder would it really be worth the trouble…
Apparently, the youth are moving away from Facebook before we have even decided what language to use there, and as a information channel it is unreliable unless you are willing to pay for your posts to appear on news feeds. Using Twitter effectively would require a lot of effort, and what kind on content and by who should Instagram of a Faculty of Science have? I don’t know. I think it is a good idea to be represented in social media, but the priorities should be somewhere else. (For example in making information visible and easily accessible on our websites.)