[ASC-list] Science 'more popular than cricket'
jcribb at work.netspeed.com.au
Wed Aug 17 00:58:26 UTC 2011
August 17, 2011
NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK 2011
IT'S OFFICIAL: SCIENCE MORE POPULAR THAN CRICKET
Australian science is now more popular than cricket - at least among
In the latest worldwide Facebook rankings, science from Australia and New
Zealand has overhauled Cricket Australia and opened up daylight ahead of pop
idols Danii Minogue and Silver Chair, and Australia's bid to host the world
"There couldn't be any better news in National Science Week," says Chris
Cassella, managing director of ScienceAlert, which this week notched up a
third of a million fans on Facebook worldwide. "See it for yourself on
"It shows that social media is an entirely new, massive audience for science
- and one that it really hasn't yet got its head around. Since we passed the
quarter million mark early in August, our fans have been growing at a net
rate of several thousand a day: it's part of a generational change in how
people are getting their information."
Mr Cassella said the news was even better when it came to the world rankings
of news websites. "Incredibly, Sciencealert has actually overhauled TIME
magazine and, at 19th in the world among news site Facebook fans, and we're
mowing down The Wall Street Journal."
There was a growing appetite among young internet users aged 13-25 to learn
about the latest science in 'bite-sized chunks', he added. "That's what
ScienceAlert's Facebook site provides - but it also links them to the
ScienceAlert website where people can find more detailed stories about the
latest achievements of Australasian research from our universities, science
agencies, centres and institutions - as well as information about jobs and
Many scientific institutions still seem unsure about social media and how to
connect with it, says ScienceAlert founder Julian Cribb. "If you're at the
cutting edge in science, you need to be at the cutting edge in contemporary
knowledge sharing also. Otherwise your science doesn't achieve full traction
and impact. It's that simple.
"Also, people's online behaviour is changing. They are now less likely to
actively search out content - and more likely to use sites like Facebook as
their primary way to discover new things. We need to ensure that the
information they find and share with one another is scientifically valid,
trustworthy and evidence-based - so that we have an informed society able to
reach sound decisions about big issues."
Mr Cassella said that not only were ScienceAlert facebook fans learning
about Australasian science, but they were also engaging with it - by
'liking', sharing, commenting and clicking through for more detail. "This
isn't a passive audience by any means. The beauty of new media is that,
unlike TV ratings or newspaper circulation, you actually know something
about what people are doing with the information they get. The analytics are
He said that Australasian science institutions who wanted to know how people
were reacting to new university courses or science employment offers could
find out vastly more by using new media than old media.
"You know, for example, how many people looked at your job or course
advertisement and reacted to it. With a newspaper ad you have absolutely no
idea: you probably waste 99 cents in every dollar you spend.
"This isn't about commerce, though. There's a talent war going on among the
top universities and science centres worldwide. Those who don't attract the
best students or recruit the most brilliant staff are likely to be the
also-rans of science. Conversely those that can pull the talent globally
have the best chance of being the leaders who shape tomorrow."
Chris Cassella, Managing Director, ScienceAlert, 02 6100 4307
<mailto:chris.cassella at sciencealert.com.au>
chris.cassella at sciencealert.com.au
Julian Cribb, founder, ScienceAlert, 0418 639 245
<mailto:julian.cribb at sciencealert.com.au> julian.cribb at sciencealert.com.au
Web: <http://www.sciencealert.com.au> www.sciencealert.com.au
Facebook Page: <http://www.facebook.com/sciencealert>
Advertising inquiries: <mailto:adsales at sciencealert.com.au>
adsales at sciencealert.com.au
News and opinions: <mailto:editor at sciencealert.com.au>
editor at sciencealert.com.au
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