Social Media for Researchers#microBEnetHolly BikEisen Lab, UC Davis Genome Center2nd Conference on the Microbiology of the Built Environment May 22-24, 2013
“Social media refers to the means ofinteractions among people in which theycreate, share, and exchange information andideas in virtual communities and networks.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media
Social Media tools & their usesShort-form (more ephemeral, minimal time investment)• Twitter – messages <140 characters, can postthoughts, soundbytes, links, pictures, videos.• Facebook – personal proﬁles (pictures, status updates,etc.), groups and “pages”. But people can be waryabout privacy settings (not accepting friend requestsprofessional colleagues, or eschewing Facebookaltogether).• Microblogging – Tumblr (photos, quotes), Pinterest(visual ‘pinboard’ of images)
Social Media tools & their usesLong-form (more longevity, but more time investment)• Blogs – independent (e.g. a free Blogger/Wordpressaccount) or linked to an established blog network(Scientiﬁc American, Nature Network)• Video content – Youtube. Catchy visuals can be moreeffective than long written pieces. Difﬁcult and timeconsuming to achieve high production quality.• Podcasting – iTunes. Another different media form.Also can be just as time consuming to produce asvideo content.
Social Media & the Built Environment• http://microbe.net - portal website (blog,simple guides, upcoming events)• Twitter – conference tweeting, askingquestions, personalized news feed– #microBEnet• Google+ hangouts – free teleconference,group discussions
a Tweet, dissectedTwitter HandleHashtagShareNowSave ShareLater
Conference Tweeting• Tweeting soundbytes from talks – takingnotes, disseminating conference content• Discussing talks with other audiencemembers (and remote participants) duringconference sessions• Networking - interactions on twitter canintroduce you to new people, and also serveas icebreakers before you meet otherconference participants in real life
How do I start?• Deﬁne your goals – What do you want to achieve?• Deﬁne your audience– Who do you envision talking to? Other scientists(inside/outside your discipline)? Journalists?Educators? The general public?• Choose speciﬁc platforms which help you achieveyour goals– How much time do you want to invest? – What medium is best for conferring your message?
Research– Community building - Particularly relevant for nichetopics or interdisciplinary research– Content curation – linking to and amalgamatingmedia sources, e.g. news articles, videos, StorifysOutreach– Increasing the visibility of scientists (and brandingthem as ‘experts’)– Cutting out the middleman - scientists cancommunicate directly with interested members of thepublic. Conversations are also archived for futurereference (dependent on platform)
Tips and Guidance• Scientiﬁc beneﬁts can result – New collaborations, manuscripts, researchfunding, interactions across the boundaries ofyour discipline, increased efﬁciency (e.g.obtaining PDFs, getting quick answers toquestions), obtaining samples or leveragingothers’ ﬁeldwork• Online interactions will broaden your realnetworks
Tips and Guidance• Social Media requires an initial time investment – Setting up accounts, exploring features, connecting with others– OK to initially observe and "lurk” – Explore different tools and decide what works best. Consistentuse of fewer tools is better than spreading yourself too thin.• Dont be afraid to ask for help – There are many established and friendly communities onlinewhere people are always willing to help• Social Media will save you time in the long run– Provides ﬁlters and customization for information – Many existing tools for aggregation and cross-platformsynching
Perils – external perceptions• Perception and reputation in research – “When do you have time to do science?”• Aimless interactions or misdirected goals – Lots of information on the internet and it’seasy to get overloaded with different toolsand lightspeed conversations– Distraction potential – wasting time
The Importance of Metrics• Online tools give us metrics to track the impactand dissemination of online content – Data is critical for quantifying impact and reﬁningthe use of online tools for researchers – Data will also be necessary for promotingacceptance in academic circles; metrics dispel theperception that online activities are a “waste oftime”, e.g. in job searches, tenure review, trackingproject outputs– ImpactStory - http://impactstory.it– Website statistics – StatCounter, Google Analytics
Bik HM, Goldstein MC (2013) An Introduction to Social Media forScientists. PLoS Biology, 11(4):e1001535.