Tuesday, March 06, 2012

AAG: Not Interested in Media Outreach

So after the success of the Virtual Geography Convention, I took a look and realized that the Association of American Geographers had almost zero public presence during its 2012 convention.  In fact, as I noted in an earlier post:

I only wish the Association of American Geographers was more active in its outreach to the public during their convention.  The conference was the perfect time to reach out to the public and show exactly what geography is and what it can do for the public, businesses, governments, and the world.  However, the outreach done by the AAG was very minimal.  A Google News search for "Association of American Geographers" for the last week only gives four results, three of them published before the meeting and the remaining one did not deal with this year's meeting.  The AAG's own press room released its last statement nine days before the conference.  On Twitter the AAG was silent during the conference except for a tweet concerning the Minnesota reception (party).

So I contacted in hopes of rectifying this horrible situation by asking what steps the AAG was taking to have better public outreach and to see if there was an active plan for social media besides a Facebook group, LinkedIn forum, and Twitter account.  The AAG constantly bemoans the lack of geographic literacy in the world so I was sure I could engage in a constructive dialogue.  This is the response I received.

Dear [Catholicgauze],
 
Thank you very much for your message. You raise some legitimate concerns. We are always working to improve communication, and there is more to be done. 
 
The AAG social networking capacity is very recent, and much of it is member-driven. I think the next year or so will see increasing usage.
 
We have plans in motion to make much more extensive use of electronic media for all of our news communication, so I hope that your concerns will indeed be addressed before long.
 
With best wishes

[High ranking AAG Official]

I have been blogging about geography in 2006 and I am relatively behind the curve so I know social media is not new.  I also wish to point out that one should not not expect great public outreach out of it if you rely on members (just ask any blogger who pleads for quality guest posts).

On one hand I am sadden by the AAG's acceptance of separation of them, their geographic knowledge, and the public.  On the otherhand I realize the separation keeps the public, who generally love the idea of "geography" a la National Geographic, and the sort of geography the upper leaders of the AAG prefer...


As Marine said to me, try to make the first ten minutes a drinking game where you take a shot after every Leftist saying

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