Hunting for Wild Experts

Since my metric history documentary will be interview based, it’s important that I have the right people to interview. I have some sectors already represented but I still have others I need to find. Right now, I’m looking for experts in the areas of American culture (to help explain why Americans have been so resistant to the adoption of the metric system in general during the last 200+ years) and another who understands the culture in America during the 1970s (which I believe could have played a contributory role in our failure to adopt during our last big push in the mid 1970s).

One of my thoughts was to locate authors who had published books on the subjects I need covered, thinking that not only would they be documented experts in their respective areas, but it also might also be worth their while to appear in my documentary so that they can “plug” their books. (Cross marketing is a good thing.)

I did locate one author who has a book out on American culture and emailed him a couple of weeks ago. He did respond to me pretty quickly but said he didn’t know much about the metric system and indicated “I suppose there is some vague hand-waving that can be done about American insistence that we know best, but nothing specific.” Oh well, at least he got back to me.

At that point, I continued to search for current books on Amazon that covered the topics I needed covered, but in multiple cases where I thought I had found possible authorities (based on their published books) I was unable to locate any contact information for them after multiple search attempts on the Internet. I did locate contact information for one woman, but unfortunately she’s now publishing children’s books, so I didn’t think she was the best person to approach for my project.

One I realized I was going down a blind alley, I decided to take another approach. I did an Internet search for colleges and universities with strong American Studies programs. I will now start to look through the faculty lists etc., beginning at the most prestigious ones like Harvard and Yale, in an attempt to locate someone who has the background that I need and is willing to talk on camera about why as Americans we tend to push back so hard on something like the metric system. (Granted, frequently during past Congressional hearings on the topic many, many people have gone on the record taking the pro-metric position but others have dug in their heels and done everything in their power to resist, often even while admitting that the metric system real advantages. This perplexes me.)

The U.K. Metric Association was nice enough to retweet my request for experts but I never heard anything. Cheers to the U.K. Metric Association for trying to help me with this.

So, if you are (or hope to be) a published nonfiction author, you won’t be interviewed and have an opportunity to plug your book if no one can find you once it’s out. Have someone try to track you down through your Amazon listing (though I certainly used many more attempts than that) and if you can’t be found, you probably won’t be. Just a thought.


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