Every generation needs a new revolution Sep 14, 2018
dr. Martijn PETERS
In its most raw and basic form, science communication can be defined as ‘those in the know informing those that are not’. A concept that already dates back to Ancient Greece where scientific knowledge was truly democratized through orale debates. Science communication has evolved with every new generation since and now that we have entered the digital age it must undergo a new revolution as media is reinventing itself online.
FLOATING IN A SEA OF INFORMATION
“Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking.” – Stephen Hawking.
In a world where everyone is glued to his or her smartphone there is no choice left anymore on whether or not we need to communicate science online. With just a click of a button people gain access to a sea of facts and information. But what is the value and nature of online coverage of science if that sea is without horizon and filled with pirates trying to hijack the treasure of scientific knowledge? Never before have so many people, including our policy-makers, been scientific illiterate. The time to act is now.
FORTUNE SIDES WITH THOSE WHO DARE
To counter this movement we must dare to take up matters into our own hands and stop blaming the educational system or the sensationalizing and poor reporting of media. We need to be proactive in our communication rather than reactive. Take into account values, emotions, etc. that bring people to the table. We need to stop assuming that scientific facts will triumph over all. Trust in public relations is not creating a monologue of information; it is about dialogue and transparency. And most importantly, we must stop thinking that new and social media don’t carry the same weight and value as traditional ones. We must dare to break boundaries in communicating science as much as we do in science itself. Whether we like it or not, social media have become an integral part of disseminating science in today’s world.
BACK TO THE FUTURE OF SCICOMM
To achieve these goals UHasselt has created a new science communication initiative, a unique collection of digital platforms that showcases all aspects of science. Sharing qualitative STEM-related information has always been imbedded within the DNA of our university but now we are ready to take it to the next level. We also want to be approachable and available, because science is for everyone. We want to have a presence online and actively engage on these new media with the world, be “social”. We are finally breaking free of our ivory tower and providing people with a safe-haven of entertaining and comprehensive information in these turbulent seas. We are ready for the future of science communication.
Welcome to inSCIght.