CA – 2013 AGU Fall Meeting, Sunday

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December 9, 2013 by Dr. G

As you can imagine, being on a non-stop flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco the day before the official start to the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting had its fair share of geologists with poster tubes in hand.  Fortunately, I was able to escape before the snow hit the northeast and start my journey to join over 20,000 scientists at AGU!

And as you can imagine, a conference with this large of an attendance has a large number of sessions and events.  AGU does a great job keeping us informed about lectures in the Moscone Center (all three of the Centers!) as well as the online options with the virtual poster session.  AGU has also established a hashtag for Twitter (#AGU13), a blog roll so we can review what our colleagues document about their own conference experiences, and a service called FMBuzz that pulls together all the conference news.  Individuals and groups, such as RealClimate and NASA, also compile listings of meeting events along a particular theme, such as climate or space science.  Along with the online program and the conference schedule on an iPad app, I have plenty of sources of information to make sure I am up-to-date during the week.

I actually started my conference today, attending a 2-hour session titled Science Storytelling Workshop: Video-Making Tips and Tools.  I got from the airport to checked in to my hotel and over to the session room with minutes to spare, and I am glad I made it!  We started with an exercise I found really valuable.  We watched the first 30 seconds of various video clips.  At the end of 30 seconds, we had to raise a green index card if we wanted to see more of the video, a red index card if we would have stopped watching the video at that point, and a yellow index card if we were not yet fully engaged but not ready to “change the channel.”  This exercise did an excellent job emphasizing how important it is to get that “hook” in early, to be clear on the story, the message, and not to forget the audience.  For example, we were showed the Ensia video about the climate record played on the cello, which I find to be an excellent and fascinating project, but I have to agree that the first 30 seconds did not communicate to me what the video was going to be about.

Google Earth demonstrated why Google Earth is an excellent tool to tell your story in a geographic context.  Check out this video on Arctic Tern Migration, which can be found as a video and KMZ file in Encyclopedia of Life.

And GoPro – well, if you are not familiar with GoPro, you should be!  (Actually, you might already be, if you are a fan of Ice Road Truckers – that show used GoPro cameras during filming.)  The GoPro representative had some valuable messages for the audience, such as, “you guys go places on one else goes!” and “be there and turn the camera on.”

I think this panel all reinforced some common themes – when trying to communicate science stories with videos, know what story you want to tell, know your audience, know your equipment, and always keep your camera running.  After all, we can’t catch anything if we don’t have the camera running!

So now, let the meeting begin!  Of course, I think tomorrow, and every day this week, is going to be the same for me as what this tweet says…

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