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Unique IAEA Gathering Highlights Social Media’s Role in Nuclear Stakeholder Involvement

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Participants will gather in Vienna next week at the IAEA Technical Meeting on Using Social Media for Public Communication and Stakeholder Involvement for Nuclear Programmes. Follow the meeting on social media with #LetsTalkNuclear.

More than 120 participants from 66 countries will gather in Vienna next week at the IAEA Technical Meeting on Using Social Media for Public Communication and Stakeholder Involvement for Nuclear Programmes. The input received during the meeting will be used to update the recently revamped Nuclear Communicator's Toolbox.

The first-of-a-kind meeting, which runs from 9 to 13 December, will examine the evolving landscape of social media and social networking sites (SNS), including social media strategies, SNS as communication and engagement tools, policies for employees and tackling misinformation. It will include a group exercise in which participants formulate a social media plan to address a hypothetical scenario requiring prompt action.

“Social media has become an essential component of public outreach as it allows for rapid, straightforward engagement with a wide variety of stakeholders,” said the IAEA’s Masahiro Tachibana, the event’s scientific secretary. “Many nuclear organizations are using social media to deliver updates on their activities and to engage the public on important issues. The high number of participants demonstrates the broad interest in sharing experiences and identifying ways to further optimize the use of this communication tool.”

As the use of social media worldwide continues to grow, so too does its potential impact. More than 3.4 billion people are using social media in 2019, an increase of approximately 10% from 2018, according to the Global State of Digital in 2019 report.

“Like many other government institutions, the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy (DMRE) has realized that many of the people we serve are on social media,” said Princess Mthombeni, Nuclear Stakeholder Management Advisor at South Africa’s DMRE. “We have been using social media to inform the public about new legislation and other important news, and this has been an effective strategy for public engagement.”

Besides new opportunities, social media has also brought new challenges.

Nuclear organizations may need to update or adjust their communications strategies—or adopt new policies for staff. They may need to swiftly address questions from stakeholders or crises resulting from the spread of misinformation.

The Nuclear Communicator’s Toolbox, an online resource designed for technical staff as well as communication professionals, provides information on core principles and methodological approaches for effectively engaging with stakeholders on the use of nuclear technologies.

The findings of the meeting will be used to update the social media section of the toolbox to better assist nuclear organizations.

Mike Mueller, a Senior Digital Content Strategist at the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, said social media efforts over the last two years have helped his office to triple its web traffic and reach more than 2 million people every month. “Social media has been instrumental in helping us meet our mission to inform the public on the facts about nuclear energy,” said Mueller, who will take part in the meeting. 

Follow the meeting on social media with #LetsTalkNuclear.

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