Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hoping for the Mansbridge bump for RinkWatch

I just have time for a quick posting today, A lot of big projects on the go, none bigger than a book manuscript that’s overdue, but that’s another story. The RinkWatch project I’ve been working on with colleagues at WLU has received an incredible amount of participation and media attention since we launched it on January 8. I described it in an earlier posting, but the short description is that the project asks people who maintain an outdoor skating rink in their backyard or neighbourhood park to visit the website, pin the location of the rink on our Google map, and then report the daily skating conditions. The idea is we can crowdsource that data to track winter weather trends over time, and maybe encourage users to take a greater interest in issues like climate change and citizen science research more generally.

RinkWatch has gone from zero to more than 450 rinks registered in that short time. I’m closing in on fifty media interviews about the project, and tonight we might be featured on CBC TV’s The National news program. We’re hoping that the Mansbridge bump* will push us over 500 rinks in the next couple days. I’ll check back in and let you know. I’ll also describe some of the strategy we’ve been using to get the word out.

*The Mansbridge bump can be loosely defined as an increase in interest in a subject after it has been the subject of a story on The National, hosted by Peter Mansbridge. I’m not sure if there’s an official definition anywhere. If it works in this case for us, it would really be the Margo bump, since Margo MdDiarmid is the reporter who actually created the story and did the interview. Hopefully some of our student volunteers get shown on national TV!

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