Glacier Research Digital Science Communication Evolution 1996-2014

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Mauri S Pelto, Nichols College, Dudley, MA, United States
This talk will focus on the changes in communicating science in the last 20 years from the perspective of the same research project. Essentially the rapid innovation in online communication requires the scientist learning and utilizing a new platform of communication each year. To maintain relevant visibility and ongoing research activities requires finding synergy between the two. I will discuss how digital communication has inspired my research efforts. This talk will also examine overall visitation and media impact metrics over this period. From developing a highly visible glacier research web page in 1996, to writing more than 400 blog posts since 2008, and in 2014 utilizing a videographer and illustration artist in the field, this is the story of one scientist’s digital communication-media evolution. The three main observations are that: 1) Overall visitation has not expanded as rapidly in the last decade. 2) Contact and cooperation with colleagues has expanded quite rapidly since 2008. 3) Media impact peaked in 2005, but is nearing that peak again. The key factors in visibility and media impact for a "small market" research institution/project has been providing timely and detailed content to collaborative sites, such as RealClimate, BAMS State of the Climate, Climate Denial Crock of the Week, and Skeptical Science that can then be repurposed by the media. A review of the visitor metrics to the digital glacier sites I have maintained from 1996-2014 indicate visibility of each platform has a similar growth curve, transitioning to a plateau, but overall visitation does not increase in kind with the increase in number of platforms. Media metrics is more event driven and does not follow the visitor metric pattern.