Misinformation reigns supreme, what is your plan to tame the beast?

Misinformation: if there was a Time Magazine word of the year, we’d have a winner.

Have you had time to catch your breath from the events of the past year? I must confess, at times I could not help but feel paralyzed and stunned by the scale and extensive penetration of misinformation into the minds of the public. But the small army of fact checkers who tirelessly work to debunk conspiracy theories and false assertions gave me strength to keep fighting the good fight.

All I can say is that I did what I could to protect my own family and small community of friends from being consumed by the nonsense.  My family often comes to me for verification of scientific misinformation that they come across online, and I do what I can to help alleviate their concerns. Sometimes they frustratingly say “I don’t know what to believe anymore” , and I don’t think they are alone in expressing this sentiment.

Fighting misinformation and correcting its disastrous consequences is like trying to catch a slippery monster.

To tame the monster one needs to stay alert and vigilant at all times, but more than anything, one needs a vision and a solid plan to defeat it.

When I started fighting the good fight of battling misinformation (about 6 years ago) I did not have a plan, my approaches were always reactionary and came from a lack of understanding of good communication skills, one that takes into account the complex factors involved in human decision making. My family and those with whom I argued with on Facebook didn’t always listen to me when I would try to debunk misinformation, but when I changed my approach and developed a communication strategy, things began to change. 

I can’t say that I am 100% successful at helping people decipher fact from fiction, but at least now my approach is strategic. I take consideration of with whom I am talking, and how I should approach a conversation.  The essential role having a vision and a strategy play in effective communication is the reason why we host the State Your Mission Challenge at the beginning of every calendar year.

This year we are launching our fourth challenge and we would love for you to participate. Below I address some questions you may have about our challenge.

State your mission challenge poster

How do I create a mission statement?

We’ve answered this question in our inaugural State Your Mission Challenge announcement, hope you find it useful.

How do I enter the Mission Statement Challenge?

  1. Craft your missions statement
  2. Share on Twitter
  3. Make sure to tag us by including @Scicomm_JC and #scicommjc in your tweet

Does your challenge come with rewards?

Yes, we’ll be looking for the top 3 science communication mission statements. The reward for each placement is different, but they all involve helping you spread the word about your science communication mission.

What are the prizes?

The First place winner will receive:

  • Feature on our social media channels
  • Feature on our blog
  • Invited guest to our monthly Twitter chat
  • Invited guest to our monthly podcast
  • A $50.00 Visa gift certificate
  • A permanent place in the Hall of Fame (currently under construction) on our website

The Second place winner will receive:

  • Feature on our social media channels
  • Feature on our blog
  • Invited guest to our monthly Twitter chat
  • Invited guest to our monthly podcast

The Third place winner will receive:

  • Feature on our social media channels
  • Feature on our blog
  • Invited guest to our monthly Twitter chat

How do you choose winners?

In the past we’ve either ranked the submissions by voting within our own team, or opened it up to voting by the scicomm community. This year, we are using a combination of methods, and we have a special requirement to qualify for a first place win:

  • The first place winner will be determined by voting on Twitter. The scicomm community will choose their favorite mission statement by liking the tweet showing your mission statement. The number of likes will determine the first place winner. 
  • To qualify for a first place competition, the mission statement must be presented in an artistic form, not just as text. The artistic expression could be in the form of video, infographic, you can sing it, dance it, or communicate it by any other type of creative means.  To get an idea of what artistic expression of a mission statement could look like, view the Scicommjc introductory video on our homepage. In this video we present our mission statement as a one way dialogue with a scientist.
  • The second and third place winners will be determined by voting within our team, and mission statement submissions can be in the form of text only.

What is the timeline?

  • January 18th– Launch
  • February 12th– Submission deadline
  • February 13th– Voting begins
  • February 19th– Voting closes
  • February 22nd- Winners announced

Where can I find some examples of past submissions?

Here is a Twitter Moment  harboring submissions from last year. The top 3 tweets show our first, second and third place winners.

I will accept your challenge and I want to tell the world!

Important disclaimer: This contest is in no way endorsed, supported or sponsored by Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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