The Week of BCCE 2016 and @realscientists

Wow!  That was a crazy week. Now that I’ve gained some perspective on what transpired July 30th – August 6th, I think I can talk about the week a little more coherently.  So here goes:

I co-organized (with the immensely talented Dr. Tanya Gupta) a symposium entitled SNiCER (Social Networking in Chemical Education Research) at BCCE 2016. Within the symposium, I gave a chemistry education research talk – Radical Awakenings: A new teaching paradigm using social media (speakerdeck here and video here) – as well as an introduction to all things social media for chemists with the lovely Dr. Sushilla Knottenbelt. My longtime supplemental instructor, Emily Alden, also gave her first talk within the symposium, and it was a raging success!

I also live tweeted a few symposia on my personal Twitter account @RissaChem, including a symposium in honor of Dr. George Bodner’s 70th birthday (#GBodner70th), our symposium (#SNiCER), and a talk by my Twitter (and Tweet-Up) friend Dr. Debbie Gale Mitchell.

The rest of the week was mainly spent curating @realscientists, which included moderating the discussions for the week, writing a blog post for the site, and storifying the discussion at the end of the week. And what a week it was!

The @realscientists folks asked me about the week in an exit interview, and I thought I’d share some of the answers I provided:

  1. In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?  It was a great experience and I definitely enjoyed myself. I even learned a few things about Twitter that I hadn’t known before (Thanks Asia!).
  2. It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?  No, it was actually exhilarating. And exhausting.
  3. What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?  The highlights included engaging the science community in many issues, ranging from OpenReview to LGTBQ+ issues.  The major lowlight was being attacked pretty quickly and viciously by a follower about one of the memes I uploaded. However, y’all (the RS moderators) were totally on it and I truly appreciated the support.
  4. Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?  Oh so much to do, oh so little time…I could’ve continued the conversation for much longer than I did, but one week was probably good enough.
  5. Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?  I had a rather loose plan to discuss a different major topic each day, but the topics changed from my original plan. The changes were due to my BCCE attendance more than anything else as particularly interesting ideas were being discussed that I felt affected the science community more than my original topics.
  6. Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?  Be yourself. Don’t overstate your abilities. And if you post pictures, make sure they are properly attributed.
  7. Would you curate RS again?  What would you change if you did curate RS again? ABSOLUTELY!  What would I change? Attributing photos properly from the start. I would follow up the comments more and ask more questions. And while this is something I did, I would discuss new (and old) topics the science community needs to discuss and perhaps plan for topics both in the morning and evening if a topic doesn’t gain traction in the morning as I had hoped.
  8. Has social media, particularly Twitter, changed the way you carry out or communicate your science?  Yes. I am far more engaged in the scientific community and far more willing to communicate #science to a larger audience than I was before I publicly joined Twitter.
  9. What’s your impression of the science community on social media, and the RS community in particular?  The RS community is approx equal to the science community I know. And both are open, curious, willing to debate and change, and willing to mentor others.
  10. How would you go about getting more people interested in science on the internet?Blogs, videos, spots on public TV and/or Geek fests (like Comic Con)???  I really don’t know but I’m pretty much willing to do a fair amount to get folks interested in science and to promote science literacy.

Does this completely summarize my week?  Of course not. But was it an interesting beginning attempt? Absolutely.

Future linked blog posts will need to include one on the lessons learned in #scicomm and at #BCCE2016.