Blogging, reporting from science conferences: Article : Nature -
Editorial in tomorrow's Nature (9 July issue) - free to read online. - Maxine
This whole "scoopable" data thing really is a non-issue. If you're presenting data, your top competitors are already there or will hear about it from colleagues that attended the meeting. Further, if you're presenting data, you're probably WAY ahead of the curve and anyone who tried to catch up with you would lose (and if you do get scooped, it's probably because they were ahead of you in the first place, so is that really "scooping?"). - Brian Krueger - LabSpaces
Good overall but the rather dramatic "The Internet causes timid scientific silence" conclusion is a bit over-wrought. ("The consequence that, in competitive fields, presentations at open meetings will become even more protective and boring is an inevitable consequence of the Internet.") - Richard Akerman
Richard, I know the thought process that leads to that conclusion, but it finishes with the unspoken assumption that people will remain afraid of being scooped and having their data tweeted or whatever. maybe in the short term, yeah, but the future doesn't have to be that way. You can change either the culture of the internet to conform with what some (mostly w/no online presence) scientists want, or those scientists are going to change. I does seem unrealistic in the extreme that the whole internet will change to suit them, but perhaps they're thinking the same way, just opposite? Perhaps some development we can't foresee will make this moot(linked data?). - Mr. Gunn
Joerg - you are absolutely right. I have not had any problems using screencasts of my talks and blog posts or even wiki pages as regular references in my papers recently. Once scientists realize how convenient this is a lot of the fear using of these new communication tools will dissipate. - Jean-Claude Bradley
Joerg - you've mentioned half of the conclusion of the editorial, which opined that conferences need to have "either/or" - open or closed, and in the case of open, same rules for all - and to be clear about the terms right from the start (which would mean for speakers, attendees etc). Too much confusion and lack of same understanding just now. The editorial was saying that there is room for both types. I agree with you and J-C about the direction in which things are going (and that it is a good one). - Maxine
While I am quite excited at the prospect of using friendfeed/twitter as a way of gleaning information from conferences that I cannot attend, I feel somehow that live blogging and tweeting is a low-level type of rudeness. Of the "answering your mobile phone on a date" sort. Tho I am probably behind the times. :) I quite like the idea of putting a symbol on the slideshow to indicate whether you are happy for the information to be "taken outside" of the conference. - Bronwen Dekker
Bronwen - nice points! However, on your last sentence, I can't see that working in practice. Joerg and others- John Timmer made a good comment at Not Exactly Rocket Science about peer review which also applies to conferences. That is, excessive claims that are then misreported. Scientists need to be able, if they want, to discuss preliminary results and interpretations together, in a forum that doesn't also include the world. This isn't inconsistent with a general and welcome trend to openness. - Maxine
One of the side benefits from being in the audience and being able to microblog about what is going on is that it makes attending conferences a lot more interesting and engaging. Being able to discuss points brought up by the speaker with other people in the room as well as around the world increases the impact of the talk. That's why I'm always happy to see people typing when I make presentations. Plus after I'm done I can see what they were discussing. - Jean-Claude Bradley
Maxine: How have I LIVED without reading "Not exactly rocket science"? Really good blog, what. I need to think a LOT more about this. - Bronwen Dekker
Jean-Claude: I suppose that I need to try it and see how it works... Need a better/lighter laptoppy typ thing. :) - Bronwen Dekker
Bronwen, Maxine, I'm interested in this impression of "low level rudeness". Lots of people have mentioned it, and it comes up quite often. From my perspective I find it quite odd because I just see it as taking notes - which I presume most people don't see as rude? I'd be interested in why you see it as different from note-taking (I accept that the clickety clack of keyboards might be an issue but it seems to me not the important one) - Cameron Neylon
Cameron - I don't really have strong views about people taking notes in a talk onto their own computer/notebook or onto the internet, from the "rudeness" point of view. When I responded to Bronwen I was thinking of some of the reactions that would go on eg on FF if some poor hapless person gave a talk with a "NO INTERNET" icon on the slide.... - Maxine
Jean-Claude- agreed, it was terrifying but euphoric to have questions from, and answers provided by, people in real-time in Aust, NZ et al while giving a talk. I think I would be too embarrassed to look afterwards to see what they said about me - is that rude, in fact? ;-) Bronwen, glad you like the blog! Sorry I did not provide the link again - it is way down the "room" somewhere. Seems like you didn't need it anyway. It is a nice blog. - Maxine
Just found another conversation at FF about this editorial - a ruder one (!) - Maxine
Maxine, didn't necessarily meant to suggest it was your view - just interested in the perception and what it arises from. It is interesting to me that the presumption that a person writing stuff down is taking notes whereas a person on a computer is "elsewhere". It's almost as though the rudeness of someone checking their email or doing something entirely different has stained the "notetaking" activity if you see what I mean. Just interested if people think that is the case - Cameron Neylon
Cameron, When some of us in the library field had this conversation (about the rudeness of X during a presentation), it wasn't about taking notes on a computer or even blogging--it was about backchat/backchannels, which would now include Twitter and FF: That is, e-conversations taking place during the presentation itself. (IRC had it years before Twitter...) - walt crawford
One of my pet hates is when people are Blackberrying in work meeting checking their emails etc. -meither go to the meeting or don't. I don't know how you tell the difference at a conference - in my case people with computers etc were yelling out questions and answers but I was so busy concentrating on them and the talk, that I would not have noticed a yellow elephant (or bored emailers) in other parts of the audience. - Maxine
I should note that, like Doroth34, I was (strongly) on the anti-backchannel side at the time and have since (reluctantly) accepted it (much the same way as I accept any number of other unlikable things that aren't going to go away regardless). Since I almost never speak any more, it's largely irrelevant to me. Better than snoring during a speech, I suppose. - walt crawford
;-) - Maxine
It used to be disconcerting to see so many people typing on computers when giving a talk but I've gotten used to it. I haven't checked to see if people are tweeting my talks. Usually though when my colleagues tweet sessions they are pretty objective.IMO cell phones and texting are much more annoying and intrusive. It's also interesting to compare tweets and posts during webinars vs live events. I think people tweeting tend to be more candid while watching a webinar. - Elizabeth Brown
I think conference blogging will be yet-another contribution to the "ripple 2.0" effect, which means that the web 2.0 will amplify what you are doing In other words, if you want to increase your network with new people you might choose a conference based on their microblogging policy. If microblogging is allowed this simply increases the audience you can reach. My personal opinion is that meeting new people and learning new science is a reason to go conferences in the first place. If I want to have a closed meeting or I want to dig deep into a scientific topic I prefer inviting experts under a CDA agreement or reading scientific articles by myself. - joergkurtwegner