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Workshop: How Science and Social Media Can Mix

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Workshop: How Science and Social Media Can Mix

By Jill Roughan

Every scientist has a story, right? But, if you're a scientist, can you communicate your story to people outside your field, to a layperson or someone who has two minutes (or less) to listen to you? Like it or not, just as science itself evolves, our communication about science is evolving, too. Scientists today are using blogging and social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ to obtain funding, find jobs, build collaborations, share ideas or simply curate the incredible amount of science news available today.

A group of students, postdoctoral fellows and employees on the California campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) recently attended a workshop “Marketing Yourself: Social Media and Networking,” co-hosted by the Network for Women in Science and The Society of Fellows, to learn more.

“I understand most scientists don’t want to spend time marketing themselves,” said workshop leader Mary Canady, a former TSRI postdoctoral fellow who is founder of the San Diego Biotech Network and life science marketing firm Comprendia. “They want to spend time doing and thinking about science.”

Yet Canady was able to make a compelling case for social media for scientists, providing examples of researchers who used social media as an outlet to “brand” themselves, blogging about their science and subsequently receiving private funding or forming successful collaborations. For example, OpenWorm, an open-source computer simulation model to test various biological systems, was formed by scientists from Russia and San Diego who initially interacted on Twitter.

So how do you get started with social media, whether to cultivate stimulating conversations or advance your career? Canady suggested the best way to start is to define your goals, then work on your tactics from there. If you want to find a job, sign up for LinkedIn. If you want technical support, follow blogs. If you want to engage in conversation, open a Twitter account. “There are lots of scientists who post on Twitter something like, ‘Just read this insightful paper on DNA replication in journal club today; check it out,’ and provide the link to the paper,” she said.

To learn more about Canady’s guide to social media, check out her presentation and slides. Also, you can contact Krystalyn Hudson (NWiS president and tweeter), kehudson@scripps.edu or Twitter handle @DrSpudly, with questions/inquiries.





Send comments to: press[at]scripps.edu



nwisFormer TSRI postdoc Mary Canady, founder of the San Diego Biotech Network and Comprendia, spoke on how scientists can make the most of social media.