Conversation, Community, Collaboration, Communication
By, Alex Warneke, M.S. Student
I frequently find myself living life in the Venn. Remember those little brainstorming diagrams where you place the big subjects in the main sections of the circles and the connecting ideas in the spaces between. As scientist, we often work in many overlapping circles: researcher, grant writer, student, teacher, parent, organization head, etc. Personally, one of the circles that has significant overlap with my science circle is social media - Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, YouTube etc. I believe social media is a great way to broadly disseminate my research to the public in ways that are easily attainable.
This past weekend I was among the 450 participants in the 7th annual ScienceOnline Conference
in Raleigh, North Carolina. Along with a smorgasbord of scientists, students, educators, bloggers, programmers, journalists, and many others hailing from the online community, I gathered at the one conference that provides an unconventional platform for discussion at the intersection of Science and the World Wide Web.
first and foremost is a non-profit organization that fosters open conversation, community, and collaboration with the ultimate goal of changing the way science is communicated. The ScienceOnline
conference differs from that of a “normal” conference in that each session is comprised of an hour-long dialogue on a previously proposed topic. Subjects range anywhere from “Why should scientist ‘do’ outreach?” to “The pros and cons of blogging in grad school.” Problems, questions, and talking points are presented, and throughout the course of the discussion numerous words of advice and potential solutions are voiced. Furthermore, unlike other conferences, if you miss a session you don’t actually miss out on the discussion due to the constant flood of updates posted to Twitter from each room. And when I say flood, I mean it. By the second day of the conference we not only had the conference hashtag #scio13
trending (an amazing feat with such a small amount of people), but we claimed to have broken Twitter as it was down for about an hour (I have no solid data to prove this, but it’s a fun notion). Overall, there was much learning to be done from some of the most clever and brilliant minds in science communication.
Fellow Ocean Bloggers (That's me in the red glasses!)
For me it was a weekend of fun-filled learning and conversation, science and collaboration. I came away from the conference with new perspectives and interesting ideas. If I had to pick the single most memorable message
to pass on it would be that creating an online presence is important as a scientist because if you don’t, someone else will for you…and you might not like how you are portrayed.
All in all, though I was a “noobie” at ScienceOnline and I had never met any of my fellow attendees in person, it was as if I had walked into a room full of old friends. The reality is, I have “met” most of these people online, either through Twitter or Facebook, or by frequenting the intriguing pages of their blogs. This online connection translates into a solid sense of community. Here, you are in it for one common purpose, no matter your background or what the circles in your Venn diagram contain, bringing science to the public remains the ultimate goal
For those of you who couldn’t make it, fret not!!
You can watch many of the sessions live here: http://scienceonline.com/live/
Or view the conversations that took place here: http://scienceonline.com/scienceonline2013/scio13-information-central/
And as always, I am always available for discussion by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @Alex_Warneke, or by way of coffee.
: Alex Warneke
Check out Alex's Blog, DJ's Locker! djslocker.org