Sunday, January 17, 2010

Top 11 things I learned at Science Online 2010 (#scio10)

Well, Science Online 2010 is over.  If you want to know the details of the meeting see some of these places: Twitterkeeper collection of tweets, Blog and Media Coverage, and lots of other places online.

I am sitting in my hotel room, kind of wishing I had gotten an earlier flight back but also hoping that a friend of mine from NC State will have some free time tomorrow.  Anyway- I will post more about the meeting later but wanted to put out a few things before I forget them here.  Here is my List of the Top 11 things I learned or relearned at Science Online 2010.

  1. Contrary to what some many claim, science journalism is not dead and I was really impressed by how much science reporters really care about the quality of their work
  2. Systems like twitter, facebook, blogs, podcasts, slides, games are neither good nor bad but ALL can be used in good or bad ways in regard to communicating science (I kind of knew this already but have had it confirmed)
  3. No matter how good sessions are at a meeting, the best stuff happens outside of sessions in the hall, bar, etc
  4. Adding a bit of humor to a meeting or presentation is fantastic; and not done enough; in general, 'Science' needs more humor 
  5. Working hard to promote and market something you do is fine and in fact, very useful; but marketing something of little or no relevance (especially to a captive audience) - not so good
  6. People with passion about their work (of which there were an amazing collection at the meeting) can get people interested in ANYTHING; people without passion, can suck the life out of the coolest thing ever
  7. Though it is true that there are continuing issues with the existence of "anti-science" groups and movements, people still seem to inherently love science; related to this, a key task for science supporters is to focus attention on teaching critical thinking
  8. Openness in science continues to spread, in publishing, education, outreach, data, etc. 
  9. Many of the "systems" connected to carrying out science still need work, from recruiting minorities, to tenure review, to peer review, to evaluating quality and contributions, etc. 
  10. Related to #9 - we need to avoid portraying scientists as having some sort of super level of virtue (e.g., scientists lie, forget, cheat, smell, can be total schmucks, screw up, etc).
  11. The spread of citizen science projects is something I did not expect, but a very interesting and exciting aspect of science now
  12. (Bonus) Meeting people you only knew from their online presence is much more fascinating than I expected; meeting so many at once overwhelming; liking both their online and real personas - priceless
Anyone out there want to add others?

And see the FriendFeed comments on this post below:



6 comments:

  1. "6. People with passion about their work (of which there were an amazing collection at the meeting) can get people interested in ANYTHING; people without passion, can suck the life out of the coolest thing ever"

    This pretty much summarises my undergrad experience right there. So many times you sign up for a cool-sounding and interesting course, only to have it brutally wrecked for the rest of your life; and then sometimes you're forced into some utterly dull subject you could could care less about, and for some reason you leave the class thinking it was awesome. Now I just pick my electives based on the instructors...

    That point is universally applicable, not just in science...

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  2. Good point about applying to any area - and yes - I was kind of thinking about taking/teaching classes when I wrote that

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  3. I didn't attend, I watched the tweets and can't wait to watch the recordings.

    But I was so excited at how many scientists crave communicating with the broader world. And are actively trying to learn how to do it most effectively.

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  4. It was extremely interesting for me to read this blog. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to them. I definitely want to read more soon.

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  5. Bring on the humor. Science news could often use better smarter analogies and a dose of humble humor. Goes to point ten too. The person being outlined is funny but the persona's aren't.

    I understand the need to appear high minded and all but its just inflated.

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  6. Totally agree with #6:

    "People with passion about their work can get people interested in ANYTHING; people without passion, can suck the life out of the coolest thing ever."

    :-D

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