Hey folks, remember this publication update?
In that article, we talked about how we shared a facebook post that featured a turtle being abused, reached around 63,000 people within a few hours of its posting. The moral of the story was that sensational news such as those on animal abuse appeared to garner more attention from the public than news on conservation issues.
That article was led by one of Rimba’s researchers, Lahiru Wijedasa. But that wasn’t the last word…
Lahiru and other colleagues wanted to look at what kinds of news get into online media. Lahiru linked up with a group of scientists, headed by Roman Carrasco, from the National University of Singapore.
What they found was:
– Only a paltry 5% of articles in conservation journals are reported in online news.
– What journal the study is published in has the greatest impact on which conservation research is featured, but news sites have the greatest impact on how popular an online article will be on Facebook and Twitter.
– Online news articles on climate change and charismatic mammals with illustrations seemed to be more likely to be featured in the news and shared or liked on Facebook and Twitter.
The take-home message is that online technologies such as Twitter and Facebook offer new, but limited opportunities to accelerate communication between conservation scientists and the online public. The paper also suggests that conservation scientists need to do better to engage the general public to raise awareness on conservation issues. But is this really possible when the public is choosy about what issues they are interested in, as our Scientist article pointed out?
Just when you thought conservation scientists have their work already cut out for them!
Here’s a link to the abstract of the paper, and you can email Lahiru for a pdf:
Papworth, S.K., Nghiem, T.P.L., Chimalakonda, D., Posa, M.R.C., Wijedasa, L.S., Bickford, D. and Carrasco, L.R. (2015), Quantifying the role of online news in linking conservation research to Facebook and Twitter. Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12455