scio11: Outreach for small scientific societies

Jan 15 2011 Published by under Conferences

Julie Meachen-Samuels, John Logsdon and Psi Wavefunction

Intro- some societies don’t do a good job of promoting their work and their scientists, discourage tweeting from meetings, don’t have a lot of bloggers or don’t support the ones that they do have.

A new field also needs bloggers – if multiple voices define the diversity can help people understand. There are nice and shiny sites for some of these topics but the bloggers might be more attractive for engaging with the public. The shiny site doesn’t show the passion.

Psi got a research collaboration from posting a picture of a protist (I think) on her facebook page. As JL mentions, though, Psi is *the* protist blogger now.

Interesting attendees to the session: 2 astrobiology postdocs, a high school student, a former editor for Ebsco – now working in Asia to support small societies and creating open science policies/marketing (another problem for them is if they are doing their science in English, creating outreach materials in the local language), independent researchers, a senior undergrad, a blogger for a company, me, a doctoral student but who is also doing outreach for a society (society does have outreach staff so the coordinate – plus her research area is quite small), math educator, someone from a big society (small sections, press releases, calls to local news stations, forward information to known bloggers in certain sections), someone who’s building a collaborative community online, and someone from a corporation who does the social media marketing.

sweetspot for young postdocs blogging – they’re trying to establish a reputation and blogs can do that.

question about the superbusy subject matter experts and the writers who aren’t super expert

question about how to find out what the public wants to know/talk about with respect to a subject

my contribution about people who want to talk to the public but don’t know how – societies could have workshops at the conferences

real pressure on postdocs and young scientists that if they communicate with the public they should leave the lab to do so – but they want to “play with the big boys” and communicate, too. Unfortunately outreach hasn’t been as valued as it should be.

For small societies – webinars for learning to blog/communicate. Make them freely available and archive them.


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