7B.1 Climate.Gov Social Media Engagement Strategy for Increasing Climate Communication and Dialogue

Tuesday, 14 January 2020: 3:00 PM
154 (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Tom E. Di Liberto, CollabraLink Inc, Silver Spring, MD; and D. Herring, R. Lindsey, and F. Niepold

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate.gov is one of the largest resources for climate content in the government portfolio. Through a combination of original and curated stories, videos, teaching resources, and data visualizations, Climate.gov and the Climate Resilience Toolkit—located on its own page but under the Climate.gov umbrella—are helping to meet the country’s growing demand for timely and authoritative scientific information on climate. To date, Climate.gov’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) have mainly been used in a “push” capacity to advertise new content. That approach has limited social media engagement with the public to reactions to stories expressed through comment sections on Facebook, which devolve into endlessly escalating confrontations with trolls who deny the reality of climate change. Based on our perception that this is a low-quality engagement that provides little return on the investment of staff moderators’ time, the Climate.gov team began pilot testing a new engagement strategy in July 2019 that will prioritize the hosting of multiple tweet chats a month on a variety of climate and climate change topics utilizing the expertise present in NOAA’s Climate Program Office (CPO). The goals of this effort are to humanize the scientists, teachers, and climate resilience professionals who tackle climate-related issues on a daily basis; to highlight pressing topics like extreme heat, climate change education, sea level rise, and ongoing scientific field campaigns that the office funds; and to create a better conduit for two-way dialogue between experts and “the public”, which includes decision-makers, environmental NGOs, scientists, and the science-interested public. This talk will highlight lessons learned during the first phase of this engagement, including successes and failures, Climate.gov metrics before and after, as well as future plans.
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