More channels for dissemination may not equal more readership

  • With the global success of technology, social networking sites and social media, individuals  have access to a world of information in the palm of their hand.
  • Whilst these technologies present huge opportunities for disseminating science, the use of  blogs, twitter, facebook, linkedin, or other filtered news channels means that people have  far more choice over the news they want to receive.
  • Combined with the death of printed news, broad knowledge consumption is likely to reduce, meaning environmental news may be actively filtered out by Generation Y technology consumers.
  • We are likely see the evolution of more “specialist” interest communities, with the general public becoming less widely read, less aware of issues past their immediate concern, and increasingly difficult to target.

It is likely that government will need to invest in robust communication strategies to ensure messages are received far beyond the “converted”  community, and continue to educate and inform the wider public in light of  evolving consumer behaviour.

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About Hayley Shaw

Knowledge Exchange Manager at Cranfield University's Centre for Environmental Risks and Futures (CERF). Sharing the latest news from Cranfield, and insights from across the industry. All things risk, environment, and the future.
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2 Responses to More channels for dissemination may not equal more readership

  1. Dr M C Smith says:

    That science (or the development of knowledge) is not an aggregation activity should surprise no-one other than the most committed positivist! Hence access to information is not an issue anymore, it is the time and inclination to apply and test these ideas.

    • Hayley Shaw says:

      I think the issue here is that communities are becoming more and more specialised, and we are selecting the information we receive more carefully – at work that might be due to a lack of time to consume all relevant knowledge. However, the main issue here is in relation to the public and I’m not sure the amount of time the public has to consume information is decreasing. You only have to look at the amount of time people spend on facebook, twitter, and other social media to see that consumption of information makes up a huge part of our daily lives now. The difference is that given the sheer VOLUME of information available, we naturally select the issues that we’re interested in. We follow specific bands, our favourite thought leaders, traffic news, or blogs that will give us new insights to improve our lives (i.e. to be a better cook, get in shape, learn a new skill). The worry for Government is that people may decide that they don’t choose to follow environmental news as it’s not in their immediate concern. This could make it difficult to change behaviours in the future, and might require clever “marketing” to ensure we continually engage with the public about environmental issues. This is quite an “out there” concept, and some may think it will never happen, but it is most certainly possible. All challenge welcome!!

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