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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

“Science in the air”
Old-fashioned media meet digital tools for Science Communication

Alan Sales Barbosa  

The initiative "Ciência no Ar" (Science in the Air) was started in 2011 at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. It has successfully brought science to the metropolitan region population through nonstandard approaches, which include science texts in buses and broadcasting on the university radio station. These efforts yield outreach results, and the project has gained public recognition locally and in the academic sphere. However, it has become evident that digital tools are essential to further promote the project. For this, blogging and social networks have been used. The present proposal aims to gather data on reader/listener profiles and participation to evaluate outreach and engagement. Information from the project's Facebook page, such as number of views, "shares" and "likes", are gathered for each post and added to a growing database. The collected data will be studied to learn which type of posts is more popular and this will be related to readers' engagement. The findings may help directing how future information will be presented. Also, is the participation in social networks a gauge for initiatives with old-fashioned tools of communication? Radio and readings in buses may reach a public that may not have access to digital tools. The purpose is to maintain this data collection and analysis throughout the existence of the project, but the results to be presented will report data from 2011 to present time. This work aims to discover effective methods for presenting scientific content on interactive platforms in a way that the general public can be encouraged to participate in the discussion about science. Success in this endeavor can provide projects such as "Ciência no Ar" with means to continue growing in the digital age without missing the link with old-fashioned methods and media for science communication.

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