formats

As many of you know I am the community Manager (Intern) for media140au on twitter – the Australian arm of www.media140.com. This week was their most recent Australian event, which was held in the beautiful Powerhouse in Brisbane. The event was on Science Communication with much of the content focussing on digital media.

Although I was there to work at the event and don’t work in science communication, I found the event both interesting and a breath of fresh air to all of the social media talks going on at the moment. Although topics such as ROI did pop up, the focus was more on how scientists and other communicators in the field of science can communicate effectively with the public, something which is becoming harder to do with the increasing clutter on platforms such as twitter.

Having been to a number of events recently with a similar digital focus but mostly for marketers, advertisers and the likes I have to admit although ROI is an important subject the perhaps, less technical aspects of social media was a nice change and great to hear about. There were amusing presentations on video creation, informative workshops of data visualisation and interesting insights into how to deal with bad feedback online for example.

After the event though the one thing that really seemed to resonate with me was that the emphasis for the science communicators at this event was about the message. It was about communicating effectively, clearly and in a way the everyday public would understand and want to engage. Naturally many of the attendees were journalists so this makes sense but it really brought to light how much, in a corporate setting, the emphasis is always put on money and return on investment. I understand why this is the case but I just wonder how many lost opportunities to really connect and cement deeper relationships with your audience you miss when you are always thinking in terms of monetary outcomes. Obviously a company is there to make money not chat on twitter but don’t you think it’s time we started thinking more about the audience and long term engagement rather than short term, expensive, award winning campaigns? After all what’s the point of spending a huge amount of money on a campaign to get tens of thousands of followers to then only post sporadically once the campaign ends? I think many companies need to look at a more long term approach online and focus on good quality content. If you can’t produce good quality content on a consistent basis then don’t bother – after all social media is a communication channel, not a sales brochure.