They crack jokes, they check one another out, they challenge stereotypes and they offer their followers a glimpse inside their everyday lives. At least as far inside as the data gleaned from their tags and published on social media can take us. The heart of Ocearch's approach to conservation and research is to raise awareness and make people feel a connection to the creatures they're studying and protecting—hence, sharks with Twitter accounts.
But the strategy goes much deeper than that and has sparked controversy both inside the scientific community and in some of the places, including Nova Scotia, where it conducts its research. How did the company morph from an entertainment house making a reality TV show to a data-centric science organization? And can other organizations looking to inspire passion in their supporters learn anything from its approach?