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n February 2010, we launched an experimental scientific video channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/ingvterremoti), to improve our communication strategy for earthquake risk and preparedness. The main goals of this initiative were to inform people of the ongoing seismic activity in Italy and around the World, to communicate the results of scientific research in seismology, and to increase the knowledge of seismic hazard of the people. To date, after almost two years from the start, we have published 52 original videos on YouTube, through the collaboration of many researchers at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV). The videos are organized into eight play lists: (i) earthquakes in Italy; (ii) earthquakes worldwide; (iii) the 2009 L’Aquila, Italy, earthquake; (iv) ongoing seismic activity; (v) tsunami; (vi) earthquake prediction; (vii) seismic hazard; and (viii) May 11 2011 (when a major earthquake was predicted to hit Rome). To date, the total number of views is over 466,000, with two peaks of more than 20,000/day after the Tohoku, Japan, earthquake (March 2011) and before the presumed prediction of a major earthquake to hit Rome on May 11, 2011. The most popular videos (6) have been viewed more than 20,000 times, with a maximum of over 67,000. We think that this initiative has increased people’s knowledge and awareness of seismic risk, although at the moment the outreach is limited only to a specific (but growing) target of citizens. In the future, we will try to improve the technical aspects of our video communication, and we will try to broaden our audience. We have learned that when specific earthquakes occur (or even when there are unfounded predictions about upcoming seismic events) this is when the attention is highest, which represent the best occasions to move forward towards improved risk communication strategies.
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