The policymakers who attended the ‘science blogging’ session at the 7th annual (2015) Canadian Science Policy Conference (Nov. 25 – 27, 2015) read blogs according to a Dec. 7, 2015 posting by Lisa Willemse and Stephanne Taylor for the Science Borealis blog/aggregator,
Several attendees who represented policy/government bodies said that they do, in fact, watch science blogs closely and do not necessarily view them the same way they do mainstream media. They look to science blogs to ask big, broad questions, to identify grassroots movements that could be brought into policy debates, and to identify key issues in need of further research. To be effective in these ways, the blogs need to be credible. They should present research in narrative, with implications for society rather than a set of uncontextualized data. And they have to be on the policymaker’s radar.
Similar to acquiring a public audience, getting a science blog onto the screen of a policymaker takes additional work, particularly since scientists and policymakers do not necessary belong to similar online communities.
Suggestions for tackling this challenge included creating a database of all MPs [Members of Parliament] or government officials of interest, which includes political and personal interests as well as handles for all of their social media accounts.
When a blog post or other online media is created, it becomes an easy task to identify potential policy targets and direct tweets or other social media messaging to them. Using this method, Genome Alberta was able to garner attention, direct replies and/or retweets from the targeted MPs and MLAs [Members of the Legislative Assembly, the Legislative Assembly is the provinces’ equivalent to Parliament’s House of Commons].
The post covers also covers these topics,
The Scientist Blogger — Speaking to the Curious
Gaining Public Trust — Truth, Passion and Plain Language
There were some additional comments by Willemse and Taylor,
Our original goal was to write a collaborative blog post about the connections between science blogging and policymakers, but this proved awkward to do on the floor. Instead, we had an organic, wide-ranging conversation with the audience, which was ultimately more productive than sticking to our initial script.
In my Aug. 18, 2015 posting, I critiqued this notion that somehow the participants and panelists would be able to create one or more science policy blog posts in a “hands-on session”,
… Just how are the participants going to have a “hands-on” experience of “interactively writing up a science policy blog post?” There aren’t that many ways to operationalize this endeavour. It’s either a session where people have access to computers and collectively write and post individual pieces under one banner or they submit their posts and someone edits in real time or someone is acting as secretary taking notes from the discussion and summarizing it in a post (not exactly hands-on for anyone except the writer).
Interesting, eh? It seemed obvious to me but not to the organizers, until they were conducting the session. In any event, I’m glad to see they were able to adjust and the session was successful (in Willemse’s and Taylor’s estimation).