I encounter a lot of social media skeptics who ask me pointed questions. I can answer most, but sometimes I get hit with a question that I can't answer (adequately) on the spot. I love those questions - they are a real gift.
Recently, I've been getting a question like that goes something like this, "All this social media stuff is great if you're fund raising or selling something or running a grassroots advocacy campaign, but what if you're focusing on carefully vetted scientific research or want to impact policy? What if your goal is large scale systemic change, why bother with social media?"
The Twitter account was started with a focused goal of raising awareness about the release of the Global Climate Impacts in the United States report last June. A few weeks after the release, they decided to broaden it's goal to sharing the latest peer-reviewed climate science that highlights immediate, near-term threats from human-caused warming. The goal is to be a trust agent for climate change scientific information.
They are building a following of journalists and others who are looking for carefully vetted scientific information. What's interesting about this Twitter account is that it isn't an automatic feed that streams links to their own reports. They share the latest, and best peer-reviewed science through Twitter conversations.
They also tweet about real-time impacts, which usually is extreme weather and how that fits within the pattern of global warming. They rely only on credible sources. They do offer our opinions or promote any one policy or get into politics.
They are using Twitter and a Facebook Fan Page to grow an audience interested in carefully vetted research. They've become a trusted resource for educators, journalists, and others. I'd like to know more about the specific results and how they are measuring the success of their social media strategy - as well as what they are tracking to improve what they are doing.
The use of social media is part of a larger strategy to inform the public about the impacts of climate change, not just at the North Pole, but in their backyards. They are co-producing video spots, which air on television and on the Web. They also engage directly with weather casters, a group uniquely positioned to inform the general public, by instructing them about how to incorporate the science of climate change into their daily broadcasts.
In early 2009, the Compete Blog posted its media trends for 2008, suggesting that publisher media continue to integrate social media.
Source: Compete Media Trends for 2008
Do you have an example of how Twitter can be used to distributed "trusted" information about an important policy issue?