Thursday, June 6, 2013

Whats the lesson?

Things I learnt from today.

I was at the science rewired Big Science Communication Summit today and have a few thoughts and comments about the sessions, speakers and conversations. Heres my top 3:

1. Collaboration. This sort of implies that we dont have to go about all this by ourselves. My job is science communicator, but that doesn't mean I have to do it all. I've been worried about this a little bit lately. I used to think that there are heaps of people better at scicomm than me, but I've now realised that instead of being better, they are complimentary to what i do and what we all do. We can't do it all by ourselves, and neither should we be expected to. I'm a big supporter of collaboration. We tell students all the time that scientists collaborate. So...we are scientists, we should collaborate more!

2. Social Media. This one gets thrown around a lot and it worries me that we keep talking about it but not a lot seems to be done. It is very hard ot have a social media presence in a place like a University that has a brand, guidelines, etc. I dont think we should force people to get into social media. As an ex-teacher, I can tell you that as soon as you tell someone what is cool and what they should be doing, it is instantly UN-cool and not worth doing. We shouldn't make people tweet, we shouldn't even make Universities tweet, or blog. What we should do is embrace their voice if they do. There are a number of excellent social media savvy people that I work with, and their following is far greater than any institution could drum up. I don't think we should be afraid of that. Social media should be organic. People can tell when places like universities try too hard.

3. This sentence "what happened to climate science can happen to any other form of science." - Alvin Stone. This got me right in the feels. We have to be careful and we have to be good. The graph that showed perceived trends from scientists and non scientists was a great illustration, imo, of what we were all talking about today (and I'll post it here when I find it). I love graphs, and I love it that it was a graph that floored me.

What I expected to see was a bit more coverage of research based science communication. To fully advance our field of scicomm as a science, we should embrace scicomm research, which we do I think, I just didn't see much of it today, maybe I wasn't paying attention!

In addition, I got to see some old friends and chin wag for a little bit, make some new friends and even a little bit of professional networking. Finally, the great day was finished up by some wonderful cuddles by my family and a yummy lasagne dinner! A great day, looking forward to tomorrow.

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