2014 just started, and we’ve already got a candidate for most creative PSA-style campaign via our friends Down Under: more than 300 Australian sharks are the newest members of the Twitter community.
Thanks to this press release from the Australian government, we learned that 338 snaggled-toothed predators have been tagged for tracking as part of the Shark Monitoring Network project (Twitter handle here). The purpose of this experiment in saltwater privacy invasion is to “detect tagged sharks within a specified radius”, thereby altering visitors to some of the country’s most popular beaches when a shark happens to be in the area.
Unfortunately, the move makes sense because Australia experiences more deadly shark attacks than any other country.
Of course, as this NPR piece notes, tweets like this one won’t be enough to “save” at-risk beachgoers.
Fisheries advise: tagged Tiger shark detected at 2km off Scarborough receiver at 09:41:00 PM on 2-Jan-2014
— Surf Life Saving WA (@SLSWA) January 2, 2014
Not all sharks are tagged, and very few surfers check Twitter before hitting the waves because sand and smartphones don’t generally mix.
So it’s not a perfect plan, but it is a creative use of social media to show citizens that the government is taking action on the shark problem. And it makes for some decent headlines.