Armed with Science is U.S. Department of Defense social media project that connects scientists and engineers with the general public. The project has three main goals: 1) highlight the critical role of science and technology to the modern military; 2) empower scientists, engineers, and other subject matter experts to communicate first-hand with the public; and 3) “experiment” with social media and web technology to influence their use and adoption across the Department of Defense. I helped launch Armed with Science in January 2009, and served as project lead through April 2011.
In January 2009, the Defense Media Activity launched, “Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military,” a weekly podcast highlighting the importance of science and technology to the modern military. The live program featured interviews with Defense Department scientists, engineers, and other subject experts, who discussed the critical role that science plays in helping our servicemembers operate more safely and efficiently. I had the opportunity to host nearly all of the 64 episodes, covering a wide array of scientific disciplines, including science policy, education, and history. The podcast was downloaded over 250,000 times, and received several national awards (see below) and popular media coverage.
In January 2010, we launched the Armed with Science blog to provide more opportunities for scientists and engineers to share their experiences, motivations, and accomplishments, and to engage in two-way conversations with the general public. Nearly all of the blog content was generated by subject matter experts at the Department of Defense and our partners in other Federal agencies, academia, and industry. Highlights from the blog include but are not limited to: Dispatches from Antarctica, an inside look at the military’s support of National Science Foundation research in Antarctica; the Office of Naval Research Distinguished Lecture Series; and the discovery of 1970s health science cartoon, The Return of Count Spirochete.
During my time on the project, the Armed with Science blog published 310 blog posts, 15 webcasts, and 45 YouTube videos, which resulted in more than 650,000 website visitors and 250,000 views on YouTube. The blog was awarded 2nd Place for Social Media Outreach/Communications at the 2011 National Association for Government Communicators Gold Screen Awards.
A few Armed with Science-related items worthy of note:
- all 64 Armed with Science podcasts
- the most popular podcasts of 2010
- the most popular blog posts of 2010
- the most popular videos of 2010
- 2009 PR News Non-Profit PR Awards, Honorable Mention in Public Affairs/Issues Management
- 2009 APEX Award for Publication Excellence, Multimedia/Interactive Publications
- 2010 Hive Awards: Unsung Heroes of the Internet, Best Podcast
- 2010 National Association of Government Communicators Gold Screen Award, 2nd Place for Podcast
- 2011 National Association of Government Communicators Gold Screen Award, 2nd Place for Social Media Outreach/Communications
I gave the following presentation, “You’ve Been SCIENCED: Communicating Military Science and Technology with Social Media,” at the 2010 O’Reilly Gov 2.0 Expo Keynote Kickoff in Washington, DC. I think you’ll enjoy it.