Throw in some digital to your journalism, some broadcast to your science and some viral to your communication. Bash it all together creatively and what do you get?
Aside from some, erm, well, odd stock photos and click-baity headlines when you open your phone (certain respectable and long standing outlets – we’re looking at you).
As a ‘consumer’ of information you become subject to a noisy, bright explosion of people and organisations all jostling for a tiny snapshot of your attention. We’re talking a mere eight seconds! You’re a mere 5 second vox pop, Tweet, GIF, YouTube video, Periscope or Facebook Live notification away. They all collectively shout:
“Hey up! Something ace happened in the world of tech/science today and we want to be the ones to tell you all about it.”*
‘Citizen’ Science and ‘Citizen’ Journalism is Different…
In a world that’s digitally mobile and high definition. The ‘citizen’ aspect of journalism and science relies on community and shared interest they are people who seek to educate, inform and develop. So the scientist or hack my not have ‘industry standard’ qualifications or a big organisation behind them. They just hold a drive to progressively develop their sphere of interest and do that using private outlets (websites, blog) or social media. Citizens possess the power of public – your curiosity and involvement on social media counts for a lot. The bonus is uptake, eventually, by the mainstream media when a big enough din is made. Twitter trending a prime example!
In a world, not really like Tron (see our stock photo, couldn’t resist) you are our BitCoin. We don’t just want you hooked by a good slug. Citizens aim to get their audience not only engaged – but enlightened, amazed, enraged and demanding change (dependent on the issue at stake).
The Citizen and the Inbetween Space…
Future media is the handy, uninhibited intersection between the viral and mainstream. Citizen scientists and citizen journalists live there. Your BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BT’s – the list is quite long, the ‘mainstream’ service providers of news and entertainment exist there too. Social media platforms, as well as your bluetooth beacons, VR/AR, leap-motion and anything you can think of also live in the world of Future Media. Believe it or not museums are leading the developmental use of technology – VR/AR, interactive science and museum exhibitions exist now. Read about Historic Royal Palace’s The Lost Palace*.
It’s complicated, they said. It is. Service providers, citizens, hardware, software – you name it all live in a strange and evolving world of apps and augmented realities (iPhone/ Google Glass etc). This new efficient frontier is somewhere you can be sold something and information exchange (Tweet, data, etc.) can happen before the event has even finished.
To put this in perspective your average, regional, local TV station is about two weeks behind social media and other self-publishing outlets. Future media proliferates the ‘traditional’ information barrier by using the power of the people. Peer review for scientific papers can take years! Citizens find out that information first or even put it into the public sphere early without red tape.
What happens when ‘the citizen’ get’s onboard? The citizen uses that ‘future media’ space and ‘runs’ with it. Scientific discoveries, apps, software, engineering developments (and more) spring up and utilise the space that’s emerged in the ‘inbetween’.
- Organisations like the Citizen Science Alliance spring up. Devoted to scientists and software developers sharing their skills to simply further science itself.
- America has SciStarter – it’s mission is to connect people and organisations to citizen science projects.
- Museomix is an international, citizen centric, ‘museum remix’ over one singular weekend annually. We’ve participated in one and administrated for another. Seeing the #Museomix hashtag trending is, just beautiful.
- The Story of Light, Goa, India was the world’s first art-meets-science event in India. It harnessed the power of India’s national consciousness to offer free artistic and scientific outreach to the local community. This was part of the UN’s International Year of Light, 2015.
- Microsoft Hololens, Raspberry Pi and Audrino all have ‘citizen’ developers (makers).
- Hack The Midlands.
There are many examples out there in politics and social policy of citizen journalists but this is purely non-political. These examples show what can happen with the power of the many, not the few (sorry Corbyn, we ripped that one from you). So get onboard and watch out for some hashtags. Join in, turn up and tune in.
In\Progress live in the world of ‘future media’ and we’ll be reporting events as they happen at the University of Salford’s Citizen Science Jam. As part of Manchester Science Festival at Media City, Salford, 21-22 Oct. 2017. We’ll have a go at anything and report back to you!
Want to get involved? Find out how from SciComm Salford here.