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Harvard Forest REU Symposium Abstract 2019

  • Title: Witness Tree Social Media Project: Can We Increase Science Communication Engagement With A Twittering Tree?
  • Author: Shawna Greyeyes (Coconino Community College)
  • Abstract:

    Social media platforms have strengthened the relationship between science and society by providing easy access to scientific information in a free-choice learning environment. Twitter is a popular science communication platform that encourages communicators to make the often invisible elements of science visible – removing a key barrier to trust in and understanding of science. The Witness Tree Social Media Project uses real-time and historical data to formulate posts sent to Twitter. Multiple sensors (sap-flow sensors, dendrometer, and cameras) are installed on and around the tree and are complemented by research towers to contextualize tree-based sensor data. Combined, the suite of sensors and related datasets tell environmental stories that are contextualized historically for the tree and its environment. The content treatment varies the narrative approach: 1) a data-driven message that incorporates specific sensor-based information (often numeric) from the tree - based on the knowledge deficit model and 2) a narrative message that excludes specific sensor data and is written with an audience-centered science communication approach. An additional multimedia treatment includes or excludes a piece of multimedia assigned to the post. Public engagement analytics will be used to quantitatively analyze the number of clicks, likes, shares, and comments each post – and its associated treatments – receives. We hypothesize that posts with a narrative message will receive higher engagement than simple data-driven messages. Furthermore, we hypothesize that multimedia posts will outperform text-only posts.

  • Research Category: Ecological Informatics and Modelling