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2013 beacon-congress-social-media

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2013 beacon-congress-social-media

  1. 1. HOW TO BUILD AN ENDURING ONLINE RESEARCH PRESENCE USING SOCIAL NETWORKING AND OPEN SCIENCE The voodoo of blogging, Twitter, Figshare, and Github, among others. Titus Brown, ctb@msu.edu
  2. 2. DRAFT I – for feedback
  3. 3. A few notes up front. • This talk is Tweetable; my Twitter handle is @ctitusbrown. • Use hash tag #BEACON13 if tweeting this talk. • I‟ll post these slides on slideshare.net/c.titus.brown/ afterwards. • Ask questions as I go.
  4. 4. Outline • What is social media & open science, and what is the overlap? • What sites are out there, and what might you use them for? • Things to think about: goals, concerns, surprises. • Personal experiences. • Pushback and why the haters are wrong. • How to get started & how to keep going. • References for further investigation.
  5. 5. What is social media? • Anything where you create and/or post and/or remix and/or forward content in a social, sharing manner. • Mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, LinkedIn, etc. • Useful for many things: • Friends and family: baby pictures, link sharing, discussions. • Professional networking. • Resource discovery and professional discussions.
  6. 6. What is open science? • Sharing scientific data, process, results, and opinions openly. • For example, • Open access • Open peer review • Open data • Open source • Preprint sharing • Scientific blogs
  7. 7. Social media vs open science • You can use social media as part of an open science strategy. • You can pursue (some) open science without social media: preprints, Dryad, github. • I think there‟s a natural synergy and confluence.
  8. 8. So: this talk. • Social media use and open science practices are evolving at a tremendous pace. • Many opportunities for building your own approach. • Excellent way to enhance your academic career; network to find, discuss, and explore alternative career options; and build a life you find to be worth living. • No “one way”; all I can do is give you a rough sketch of a map, describe what I do (and why), motivate you to start, and help you to chart your own course. • BEACON would (presumably) like to see you magnify your and their scientific impact on the world!
  9. 9. A brief tour of some Web sites.
  10. 10. Facebook.
  11. 11. My blog. • Assemblathon 2 • Chris Adami, Gemma.
  12. 12. Twitter.
  13. 13. Figshare.
  14. 14. arXiv.
  15. 15. Haldane‟s Sieve.
  16. 16. Github
  17. 17. How do I use all of these!? • I write long articles on my blog. • I post “in progress” code and text to github. • I post preprints to arxiv. • I write and respond to comments on Haldane‟s Sieve and other blogs. • I (occasionally) use figshare to generate DOIs. • I post, kibbitz, network, and discover things on Twitter. • (I discuss politics etc. on Facebook :)
  18. 18. Twitter: one forum to bind them all. • ~2500 followers • Show workflow
  19. 19. My blog: where I explore ideas at my leisure. • Show usage stats • Satire, opinions, commentary, reviews, ???
  20. 20. Github: where I store code and text (papers, blog posts, etc.) • Show impact story, papers
  21. 21. Slideshare • Might as well.
  22. 22. Lab Web site • Increasingly out of date; hard to maintain. • Post grants, papers, preprints, etc.
  23. 23. And how has that worked out for you, Dr. Brown? • Very well, thank you! • 22 invited talks last year. • Three grants from a program manager who contacted me after I said I needed funding in a blog post. • A grant review in which open source and preprints were positively mentioned as a strong reason to fund me. • The Assemblathon2 … thing. Social media nucleated conversations and interactions.
  24. 24. Side note: Serendipity & the Assemblathon 2 review process • The other reviewer (a friend) got jealous of the media attention and started a “#titusischucknorris” meme on Twitter.
  25. 25. On the downside, • Bafflement from many administrators; even the relaxed ones don‟t get “it”. • Near-certain knowledge that I‟ve pissed off some people => negative reviews, missed opportunities, ??? • A real lack of publications :( • Warnings from grant managers about posts and comments. “You might not want to say that so publicly…”
  26. 26. Is it worth it? Heck if I know; very hard to find strong evidence anywhere. But it sure is fun!
  27. 27. Define (or at least think about) your goals • Increased citations? • Increased visibility for your research? • Outlet for opinions? • Fame? Fortune?
  28. 28. Concerns • Cost $$. • Giving away trade secrets! • Lots of extra effort • How do you keep things up to date? • How do you continue to produce new content? • Being publicly wrong. • Being ignored and irrelevant. • Being yelled at. • “But I don‟t like writing and I don‟t have opinions” • Institutional rules and norms: MSU, NSF/NIH, ??
  29. 29. Concerns: $$ • None of these Web sites cost anything but some configuration time. • Designed to be easy to set up. • Customization can take a lot of time, but isn‟t necessary.
  30. 30. Concerns: my Big Idea will be stolen! • First: no reason you need to write about or share unpublished research! • Second: don‟t you talk about unpublished research at conferences? Where the very people who are most likely to understand the awesomeness of your ideas, and steal them, are present? Hmmmmmm. • Third: most people are too busy with their own Big Ideas to pay much attention to yours. • Fourth: Can engage a much broader audience and potentially find serendipitous synergy with others‟.
  31. 31. Concerns: Extra Effort • Yep. • Integrate it into daily routine • Skim Twitter • Note interesting posts for later consumption • Write posts or long comments when so motivated. I’d rather write half as many papers and have them be twice as relevant.
  32. 32. Concerns: Maintenance & New Content • I don’t keep things up to date, generally. • Point people at my Google Scholar page • Focused on production of new content. • New blog posts • New presentations • Integrate production of some new content into normal routine. • For example, I write reviews and then (when the paper comes out) post them to my blog.
  33. 33. Concerns: Being Wrong, or Irrelevant • First: treat being wrong like you‟re in a classroom, and correct yourself. • Second: be open to correction from others. Scientists are pretty happy to help if you‟re actually seeking truth. • Third: Isn‟t it better to find out that you‟re wrong (or irrelevant) now rather than later? “Fail often so you can succeed sooner.”
  34. 34. Concerns: Anger management online • Yeah, people can be really unpleasant. • People who genuinely disagree with you; • People who are trolling you to get a reaction (from you or othres) • No good solution here. Just don‟t escalate and don‟t be a jerk. • Be unafraid to moderate, block, blacklist trolls, or people who just seem out to argue in bad faith.
  35. 35. Concerns: I don‟t have any opinions/don‟t like writing. • First, everyone has opinions, and most worthwhile careers will want you to be able to express them. • Second, most worthwhile careers involve writing. Consider this a low visibility way to screw up a few times… (See below advice about anonymous blogging.)
  36. 36. Concerns: Your university • Universities are generally conservative, oddly enough. • If you label your posts as “I don‟t speak for MSU” (or whatever) and don‟t post on your .edu domain, I would otherwise ignore your university social media rules. • Your university will come to treasure your social media presence at the same time as their rules officially prohibit or limit it. • Important! • You‟re not protected against libel charges, so don‟t libel someone. • Don‟t Be Stupid (name other faculty negatively; trash talk; discuss students). • The „net has a different sense of humor than your administrators, so don‟t be surprised if there is pushback when you‟re edgy.
  37. 37. Things you may not have thought of • Sharing data is mandatory; why not maximize reusability? • Enable serendipity. • Signaling (and false signaling ;). • Blogging: a family friendly way to network. • Blogging: a way to explain your papers • Blogging: a way to expand your career options If you are not curating your online identity, someone or something else is doing it for you.
  38. 38. Pushback • “Waste of time.” • “Not a scholarly activity.” • “It‟s better to work hard and get papers.”
  39. 39. Pushback: “waste of time” But: • Can integrate much of online work with traditional efforts. • I post my reviews. • I find most of my papers of interest by following a small group of people on Twitter. • I post presentations etc after I‟m done writing them. • Interaction with broader community, potential reviewers, students, etc. has clearly been worth it for me. • The world is changing…
  40. 40. Pushback: “Not scholarly.” But: • Two definitions for “scholarly”: • “What we know how to think about” – a conservative definition that stifles innovation and limits independent thought to defined topics. • “Of or pertaining to scholarship” – an expansive definition. • (Guess which one I prefer?) • Many of my online conversations are professional discussions with top practitioners in the fields of genomics and bioinformatics. How is that not scholarly!?
  41. 41. Pushback: “Write more papers” • Papers are good for only one thing: being an academic. • Blogging is good for many things: networking across fields; exploring non-academic careers; discovering what you are truly interested in. • When your advisor or other power figures tell you to write more papers, they are telling you: “You should be preparing for an academic career, and nothing else.” • This is awful, horrible, innumerate, and shortsighted advice born of a frustratingly blinkered, close-minded, and conservative professoriate. Most (80% or more) grad students and postdocs today will not go into the professoriate. (But you still need to write papers.)
  42. 42. Suggestions: Low energy start • Create & curate your Google Scholar page. • Make sure you have a Web page somewhere. • Create a Twitter account and follow one or two people that work in your area • Find blogs of interest; find Twitter handle of blogger; follow. • When you publish, • Post data to figshare; • Write a guest blog post about paper on someone‟s blog (happy to host!); • Make sure your post has your Twitter handle on it.
  43. 43. Suggestion: Start blogging • Write about interesting papers in your field, or in neighboring fields. Be mildly provocative. • Start anonymously, if you are concerned about reaction, or looking stupid, or your advisor disapproving. • Note that you will be outed if you keep blogging long enough. • Most advisors are too busy to keep track of what you‟re actually doing. • See advice about advisors elsewhere (tl;dr? They‟re not often capable of giving you good career advice.)
  44. 44. Other ideas/thoughts • Add non-peer-reviewed resources (preprints, esp good blog posts, data) to your C.V. • Set up ImpactStory and other altmetrics resources on your site. • Open reviewing has been surprisingly positive. • Even when I‟m negative, I try to be constructive.
  45. 45. Final thoughts • Speak your own truth as long as its constructive. • Strive for portable tenure. • Don‟t ask “what‟s the worst that could happen?” without asking “and what‟s the best that could happen?”
  46. 46. References • On commenting, and building a community, and trolls: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the- clock/2013/01/28/commenting-threads-good-bad-or-not-at- all/ • asdf

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