lunes, 16 de septiembre de 2013

Social Media for Scientists Part 1: It’s Our Job

Scientists. We’re an enigmatic group of people. On the one hand, we are trailblazers. We’re the innovators and inventors whose job it is, quite literally, to expand the world’s technology through knowledge. We’re quick to see the merit in new methods like fluorescent proteins and hit the ground running with them.
Yet when it comes to social adaptation and technology, we’re more than behind the curve. Although 72% of internet-using Americans are on Facebook, less than 2/3 ofcollege faculty are. Similarly, in one survey, more than half of lab managers said they have never used Facebook.
It may seem of little consequence whether scientists are using social media. That certainly seems to be the attitude of many scientists – social media platforms like Facebook are seen as little more than ways to tell everyone how good the omlette you just made was or convince yourself that your ex’s new girlfriend isn’t prettier than you.
But social media platforms aren’t just digital water coolers. They are the way the world is networking and communicating. They are how and where we share information – with friends, colleagues, acquaintances and any and everyone else.
Last Friday, I gave a talk titled “Science and the Public: Why Every Lab Should Tweet.” My slides can be downloaded here (keynote for now – will get ppt ones soon!), but I want to go over the argument I presented. I have broken this into two parts: this first post covers why, from a global perspective, it is important for scientists to engage in social media. My second post will cover what scientists can gain – personally and professionally – from doing so.

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