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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,
  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 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: clock/2013/01/28/commenting-threads-good-bad-or-not-at- all/ • asdf