Today, we’d like to take the opportunity to officially announce the launch of a new venture: Science of Blogging. This project has been in the works for over a year, borne out of an idea we had while having dinner at a conference in the fall of 2009.
What is Science of Blogging?
In brief, the goal of Science of Blogging is to foster a community of online science communicators with the mission of engaging the public discussion of science.
Science of Blogging will not only highlight the ways by which social media is changing the way science and research is communicated, but also provide basic suggestions for individuals or organizations who seek to use social media to increase the public understanding of scientific research.
We hope to achieve this goal by picking the brains of members of the online science community via regular guest posts, discussions, interviews, podcasts and more. We want to bring together our combined knowledge and experience to make it easier for people to start discussing science online (via any social media channels), or to do so more effectively.
What types of topics will be discussed?
Here is a sample:
Scientists: Publicizing your research gets you cited more often
A long background:
In the fall of 2008, Travis and I were growing increasingly disillusioned with our role as young researchers. We were publishing quality clinical research in respected peer-reviewed journals, but it largely felt as though our work was having little impact on society as a whole. Our work was occasionally cited, but it rarely reached anyone beyond fellow researchers. At the same time, we saw the public being bombarded with constant stream of scientific misinformation that was useless at best, and extremely harmful at worst. Thus, we began Obesity Panacea, a knowledge translation website and accompanying podcast that provide evidence-based information on obesity, nutrition, exercise, and health. In addition to running Obesity Panacea, we began engaging the public conversation on science and medicine via a number of other social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, ResearchBlogging, etc).
Shortly after creating Obesity Panacea, we began to realize just how useful social media could be in communicating science to researchers, policy makers, and the general public. Soon enough, the work we did on the blog began to make more of an impact than the scientific papers we published in medical journals. While our published work may have been cited just half a dozen times, discussing that research on the blog, and then promoting that work via social media resulted in thousands of people becoming aware of the implications of our work within a single day.
In short, the use of social media has given us a tremendous outlet by which to translate and promote scientific knowledge and engage the public discourse. We strongly believe that all scientists, researchers, clinicians, government and not-for-profit organizations have much to gain by adopting an effective and viable social media strategy.
Come and check us out! Spread the word (Twitter hashtag #SoB)! Or sign up for our feed! We have created a discussion thread for ideas and suggestions on ways that we can make the community as useful as possible. We would love to hear your suggestions.
To all our regular Obesity Panacea readers: fear not, Obesity Panacea will continue bringing new and exciting news in the world of obesity, nutrition and exercise as per usual.
Science, meet World!
Peter and Travis