Skepticism

Hear me at The Amaz!ng Meeting 6 next week

Hello everyone! I am delighted to announce that my good self (well, quite naughty self usually) will be speaking at James Randi’s The Amaz!ng Meeting 6 at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. My paper, one of the Sunday presentations, will be at 9.45am on 22nd June and is on the topic that is the topic of ‘marketing on teh interwebs’. Or more formally, The Most Popular Science in the World – How to Make Your Message Famous.

The abstract is after the jump, hope to see you there!

In 2007, a short video clip became arguably the most popular science communication video in history. Seen by over 80 million people worldwide, and used in countless classrooms and lecture halls, the clip has inspired kids, teachers, parents, skeptics, scientists and magicians everywhere. It became the inspiration for a new Penn & Teller trick, was refilmed for National Geographic, and has catapulted an esoteric psychological principle into popular culture. All of this was achieved online, using tools available to almost anyone.

This presentation will reveal the secrets behind the campaign’s success, including the marketing techniques used to create a buzz about science. In addition, there will be an overview of how anti-science movements like Creationists are already wise to the power of internet marketing, and how their efforts can be countered with some guerrilla tactics of our own.

Skeptics often ask how to make their message popular, palatable and sustainable in the fast-moving internet age, and this presentation aims to show them how.

Tracy King runs a successful marketing company in Birmingham, England, is a regular writer for Skepchick, and Executive Partner of UK Skeptics. She has worked with major skeptic organisations and is a sometime calendar model.

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18 Comments

  1. I’ve been nagging the Bad Astronomer to attempt a uStream chat/cast of his talk at TAM. It worked really well at the AAS convention last week, particularly as the talk was about New Media. He managed to stream a few press conferences and other talks as well…

    But I’m sure your talk has nothing to do with using the internet to promote skepticism, so I won’t nag.

  2. May I assume there will be heads up for people like me who won’t be able to make the meeting in full, but live in the area (and happen to work at the Flamingo), hence will be in the neighborhood, and who would love to meet some fine skeptical folks? :)

  3. Marc, I did consider attempting a live stream but there are many issues, including technical, cost, and copyright (all the papers are filmed by JREF for inclusion on the DVD, so it wouldn’t be entirely fair to beat them to the pip). Plus, ethically I’m not entirely comfortable with giving something away that others have paid to see. Not that anyone will have paid for TAM just to see my paper, that’s for sure, but all of the content has a ticket value as part of a paying event. Traditionally, if you can’t make it to TAM, you can buy the DVD, which is an additional revenue stream for JREF. That said, downloadable and streaming content isn’t the future, it’s the present, so it may well be prudent for JREF to look into paid-for online streaming as an alternative for those who can’t make it to Vegas. A tad too late for this year tho!

    Bechamel, you work at the Flamingo? Cool! There are various events in the evenings and before and after the conference, and every year there are folk who come just to hang out and don’t actually go to the conference itself. So your best bet is to grab a recogniseable Skepchick face and introduce yourself! Tip: head to the bar, there be Skepchicks.

  4. Having watched a lot of uStream stuff, I can safely say that they’re no threat to future DVD sales. There’s always a market for people who want to see the projections, or hear more than 80% of what’s said.

    Sitting watching the DVDs a few months afterwards is lovely, but you can’t ask questions! Or interact in any way with other people watching the same thing.

    The whole “only those who paid can hear the words of wisdom” smacks of Scientology to me. But I understand – TAMs aren’t cheap to organize, copyright, etc.

    Maybe a compromise for future TAMs would be to sell “virtual tickets” for something reasonable ($50 or so) and allow holders to ‘attend’ the streaming talks.

  5. These are your words: “only those who paid can hear the words of wisdom” .

    No-one else said that. I just wanted to clarify that because you put it in quotes. And given that there’s a five minute Q&A at the end of the paper sessions, that’s hardly enough time for those who have paid hundreds to be there, let alone anyone online, to ask questions (assuming anyone has any questions). But the point about interacting is a fair one. A paid login would certainly solve that but I have no idea if it’s feasible on the sort of scale that would be needed. In addition, a careful study would be needed to ascertain the demand, and if the availability of a cheap online option would impact physical ticket sales. I suspect it would have little impact, but it’s a concern given the high cost of the conference.

    Scientology is not the only organisation with a business model that involves “turning a profit”, though. In fact, they all have one. It’s silly to compare ‘protecting business interests’ with Scientology, it’s a universal concept. I assume you pay for books.

  6. Hey TAM attendees- I’m flying into Vegas from Shanghai tomorrow for the conference; meeting some friends there. Any party plans for the evenings between the presos..? We’re staying at the Flamingo.
    baza

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