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Social Solutions for Climate Change: How to inspire action through social media Paperback – October 4, 2016
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About the Author
Sherry Nouraini, PhD, is a Social Media Strategist, Marketing Instructor, lecturer, and Climate Change Communicator who lives in Southern California. Her rigorous scientific training gives her a competitive advantage in social media marketing, which she offers through her marketing business, Captive Touch, and also by teaching Marketing via Social Media within the University of California system.
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As other reviewers have mentioned, this book may have been written for climate change communication, but the methods that the author teaches can be used for making people understand pretty much any topic.
This book’s focus is on climate change, although I would argue that much of what is noted here can also be applied to science communication and, perhaps more broadly, outreach in general. A overall great read that shows how people’s differences and interests are not a hinderance to communicating; rather, they are each an opportunity to relate, connect and share.
Through Dr. Nouraini's text the reader will learn how to craft her message, both by understanding herself better as well as by identifying her audience, and use data-driven tools to frame the issue and connect with her target audience. Although I do not use social media much, as a previous reviewer noted, this book is full of useful communication tools for any public speaker. The first section of the book addresses the history of climate change communication, how to figure our your audience and your message, and lastly how to develop your communication strategy. I found the section on creating your "target audience avatar" and learning how to flesh it out with data from Facebook Audience Insights particularly interesting. The text then goes in to specific strategies for blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. I highly recommend this text for anyone who seeks to improve her communication skills, in general, or specifically increase effectiveness of her online discussion of important issues.
Science is practiced as a community activity. Communication within science is not only important to career advancement, but necessary to gain credibility for research conclusions and to increase their impact within science and society at large. As a result, scientists are well practiced communicating with colleagues. If a scientist has teaching responsibilities, they are also practiced at communicating with students. (However, remember, “practiced” does not mean effective.) Few scientists are practiced communicating outside these arenas.
This lack of communication outside of science has a long history of serious societal, public health and environmental consequences. The resultant societal failure to understand the process of science and/or properly interpret scientific evidence has resulted in public policy, personal behavior and personal health choices with serious negative consequences. Scientists have long recognized this issue and some have spent considerable time and effort attempting to communicate with the non-science community. Carl Sagan particularly comes to mind, but many other scientists have invested a lot of effort using traditional modes of communication to reach outside of the science subculture.
Today, a particularly wide reaching mode of communication is available to the science community. Not only is it wide reaching, but it offers tested and easily applied means of evaluating the effectiveness of communication attempts. The use of social media to communicate science to the general public offers a new means to avoid the serious societal, public health and environmental consequences that result from failure.
"Social Solutions for Climate Change" presents the potential of this communication mode for those inexperienced with social media and affirms its potential for those experienced. The two most important aspects presented are the potential audience size and the data available to determine the effectiveness of communication. As a long time science educator teaching a course entitled “Issues in Environmental Biology,” I have been stuck in the classroom mode of communicating, seldom considering other options. This publication exposed that flaw. It also made me realize that the tools I use to evaluate the effectiveness of my communication within the classroom are superficial at best in evaluating the impact on student personal and group behavior.
"Social Solutions for Climate Change" presents clear step-by-step instructions for the use of a variety of social media avenues and strategies to communicate and evaluate the effectiveness of communications outside the science community. This has radically changed my view of social media and its potential to effect change and bridge the gap which has isolated the practice of science from the application of its products to the social and economic spheres of human activity. It has made me hopeful and made me realize communication through social media particularly requires tailoring the message to the audience.
Illustrations and examples throughout the book are extremely helpful, particularly to a social media novice like me. The flowcharts enable swift practical application and the citations make more detailed research easily accessible.
The increasing influence of social media on social norms suggests that any and all organizations promoting science literacy and sustainability would benefit from an examination and application of strategies presented in "Social Solutions for Climate Change." All educational activities which include a student learning outcome for change in social norms or personal behavior will also benefit from an application of these strategies. I would suggest that many strategies presented may be appropriately applied to classroom instruction.