Planet Jemma

It’s a great idea – create a fictional online journal of a 19 year old English girl who’s interested in science (and boys, etc etc) to get other girls into science. And that’s what the British Council has done with Planet Jemma.

Now, I don’t dare to presume that I have any special insight into the minds of young teenage girls, but I don’t see how the website (not the idea) can work at all, on anyone. It’s a real pain to navigate and read, and there’s no real indication on what you’re supposed to do. You have to register to be able to participate (which probably cuts down on their visitors by an enormous percentage) and the whole thing smells of a somewhat desperate attempt of ‘cool and with it’ adults to pretend to be teenagers.

Hey guys – it won’t work! You won’t find anyone better than teenagers at detecting imposters, especially in a dubious subject like science. A more sensible solution would be just to get a real science undergraduate to write a diary (preferably someone who can actually write, but there are plenty of those around).

The science on the website leaves a lot to be desired. There was some guff about ‘quantum teleportation’ on today which didn’t explain what it meant and ended up as a horrible, horrible jumble of confusing concepts that wouldn’t convince anyone.

God knows how much the British Council paid to create this website – I suspect well into five figures, very possibly six, given the copious amounts of Flash used – but they have far better things to spend their money on than this ‘pseudo-teenage’ rubbish.

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