URLs of wisdom (January 31st 2015)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Self-promotion

Behaviour

  • Why apps for messaging are trending “The most popular apps that sustain themselves day after day, month after month, at the top of the leader board, are messengers…That’s a reflection of what people do on their phones.”
  • The cultural specificity of health technologies “App designers and those who develop many other digital technologies for medical and health-related purposes often fail to recognise the social and cultural differences that may influence how people interact with them. Just as cultural beliefs about health and illness vary from culture to culture, so too do responses to the cultural artefacts that are digital health technologies.”

Academia online 

Social media/networks

  • When is a feature a product and a product a business? Interesting read about scholarly publishing and new technologies “Get three publishers into a conference room together or, more productively, at a bar and wait for the conversation to turn to something like this:  “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could [insert your feature here]?” And it would be cool. Conversations like these mostly focus on new things that would be appreciated by end-users–because we are all, at certain moments, end-users ourselves. This creative process is valuable, but it ultimately has to be married to how the new capability will be expressed in an economic context. Hence the defining question of the age: What is the business model?”
  • Reaching 4000 Twitter followers – Paige Brown reflects on what Twitter means to her: “It’s not about the followers, it’s about the friendships”
  • Facebook use and academic performance“the relationship between Facebook and grades provides a way of capturing self-regulation skills in freshmen. In other words, the pattern of Facebook use helps us see something about self-regulation we might not otherwise be able to measure. This is also evidenced by how regular use of Facebook for students at other class ranks is not related to academic performance.”
  • Not strictly “online” – new PeerJ pre-print asking what the optimal size for a research group is – “We show that the number of publications increases linearly with group size…[further examination of the data] suggests that PIs contribute on average 5-times more productivity than an average group member and using multiple regression we estimate that post-doctoral researchers are approximately 3–times more productive than PhD students.”

Outreach

  • The latest Pew Research Center survey looks at public and scientists’ views on science and society and “marks a more formal commitment [by the Center] to studying the intersection of science with all aspects of society – from public opinion, to politics and policymaking, to religious and ethical considerations, to education and the economy.”
  • And some responses to the survey results – from Matt Shipman – I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: to protect public funding for research at the state and federal level – much less increase that funding – you need to have broad public support. And thekeys to building that public support lie, in part, in science communication. Now, do I have the answers? No. We know that the deficit model – the longstanding idea that folks would support science-based decision-making if they just knew more about science – isn’t all that effective. But we haven’t come up with anything to replace it. Yet. I think a lot of folks agree that we need to incorporate cultural mores and beliefs into our science communication efforts, and that science communication shouldn’t be confrontational. We shouldn’t start out by saying “What you believe is wrong, and here’s why.” But how do we do those things? I have no idea.”
  • …and John Besley at The Conversation: “The main thing that seems potentially troubling about the research results is the small decline in positive views about science. Such results echo through the report’s comparisons of the 2014 figures against a similar study from 2009. For example, whereas 79% of Americans thought science made life better in 2014, 83% held this view in 2009.”

Communities 

  • The Community Roundtable have opened their annual survey on the State of Community Management. It should take about 20 minutes to complete.

Social media developments

  • With the news that Andrew Sullivan, a blogger of 15 years, has decided to stop blogging, Matthew Ingram responds: “Blogging is still very much alive, we just call it something else now” –“When blogs first showed up, there was no other economical way to write and share your thoughts and hear from other writers or readers, but now they are everywhere. We can tweet and Snapchat and Instagram, and post things to Facebook or Google+ or Medium or dozens of other places.”

Resources

  • Buzzfeed shares its ethics guide “a first attempt at articulating the goal of merging the best of traditional media’s values with a true openness to the deep shifts in the forms of media and communication.”

Just for fun

URLs of wisdom (January 18th 2015)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Behaviour

Privacy

  • An old fogey’s analysis of a teenager’s view on social media – Danah Boyd responds to everyone who’s been sending her a recent article by teenager, Andrew Watts. “Andrew’s depiction of his peers’ use of social media is a depiction of a segment of the population, notably the segment most like those in the tech industry. In other words, what the tech elite are seeing and sharing is what people like them would’ve been doing with social media X years ago. It resonates. But it is not a full portrait of today’s youth. And its uptake and interpretation by journalists and the tech elite whitewashes teens practices in deeply problematic ways.”

Other news

  • The tactics of collaboration – Steve Wright proposes 4 stages of collaboration, including vulnerability as the third. Compare with the 3 types of working together (contribution, collaboration, co-creation) discussed at the wikimania conference.
  • Your computer knows you better than your friends do “Computers aren’t yet as smart and sultry as the one in Her, but armed with your Facebook data, they can accurately judge your personality in a fraction of a second. Compared with humans predicting their friends’ personalities by filling out the Big Five questionnaire, the computer’s prediction based on Facebook likes was almost 15% more accurate on average.”
  • Promoting the dead on Facebook – “A page remembering someone who died acts doubly as a space for friends and family to publish memories and as one to help each other grieve. But when that content leaves the page and that network, those two uses of Facebook conflict. The page becomes context-free when it moves outside the circles of friends and family…”

Academia online 

Blogging

  • Another update from Paige Brown about responses from her #MySciBlog interviews – “I guess the other reason, the other approach to my blog that I took with that, because I have this complete freedom, to write about whatever I wanted to write about, I was going to write about subjects that I knew would NEVER get covered in the mainstream media. Because, because the organisms that I was going to write about were just too obscure, they weren’t, you know, fuzzy mammals… And so, I wanted to offer people content that they would never, almost never find anywhere else.”

Social media/networks

  • Creating effective social media networks – why it isn’t all about the numbers. Heather Doran thinks about how we measure social media success: “The problem the belief that people should use a one size-fits-all model. This will not work. Firstly, all social media networks are different so a ‘like’ on facebook doesn’t equal a follower on twitter. Interactions are subtle and hard to measure. You need to be familiar with the platform and how it works to get the most out of it and to understand what is worth measuring.”
  • Scientific societies in the internet age – Sarah Boon outlines some of the benefits of societies getting online “At the simplest level, migration to online platforms and utilization of social media is budget friendly. With science funding in decline across the board, operating costs at scientific societies can also be hard to cover. Sending out e-newsletters instead of printing paper copies, having online membership renewals instead of mailing them, connecting via email instead of in print…all of these activities reduce costs. The other rationale for a bigger online presence is to better connect society members with each other (regardless of age), to recruit new members, and to connect science and scientific societies with the broader public community.”
  • Social media and its impact on medical research – discussion of a recent paper that looked at the effect of a journal promoting half of its papers on Twitter and Facebook via a “social media campaign” of 1 tweet and 1 Facebook post per paper.
  • Frontiers launches Loop – Open Access publishers, Frontiers launched an updated version of the Frontiers Network for scientists which now includes embeddable profiles that can be included on research articles.

Outreach

  • Scientists as communicators – An interview with AAAS Fellow, Julia Moore: “We are not going to solve the problems of the 21st century unless there is better communication between scientists and the public,” Moore stressed. Unfortunately, this skill is often under-appreciated and misunderstood in the scientific community, she notes: “A lot of people in science want to lecture and not listen. They want people to be where they are, curiosity-driven for the sake of new knowledge—as opposed to where people really are, which is worried about their bills or their children’s health or the world their grandchildren are going to grow up in.”

Communities 

  • Jono Bacon shares 5 key things to focus on when hiring for a Community Manager – “The word “community” means radically different things to different people. For some a community is a customer-base, for some it is engineering, for some it is a support function, for others it may be social media. When your new community manager joins, your other staff will have their own interpretation of what “community” means. You should help to align the community manger’s focus and goals with the rest of the organization.”

Social media developments

URLs of wisdom (January 11th 2015)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Behaviour

  • The Science Opinion Games: new conversations, same old voices? –“Scientific discourse, peer review, and internet conversations are often unpleasant, conflict-driven, and aggressive. Less tolerance and rewarding of that behavior could help cultivate a public science discussion space that’s more appealing across the board, but particularly to women as a group.”

Academia online 

  • Dark research: information content in many modern research papers is not easily discoverable online. PeerJ pre-print by Ross Mounce looking at indexing of research. “This research is a basic proof-of-concept which demonstrates that when searching for published scholarly content, relevant studies can remain hidden as ’Dark Research’ in poorly-indexed journals, even despite expertise-informed efforts to find the content. The technological capability to do full text indexing on all modern scholarly journal content certainly exists, it is perhaps just publisher-imposed access-restrictions on content that prevents this from happening.”

Blogging

Social media/networks

  • Scholarly communities face crucial social challenges in maintaining digital networks that can sustain participation – Great read on why social challenges matter as much as tech ones “this opportunity points toward a deeper, underlying challenge, for societies and scholars alike: building and maintaining communities that inspire and sustain participation. This is nowhere near as easy as it may sound. And it’s not just a matter of the “if you build it, they won’t necessarily come” problem; problems can creep up even when they do come.”

Outreach

  • Science in the words of Alan Alda – Interview with the namesake of the Alda Center for Communicating Science at StonyBrook University. “Listening is what lets things happen— whether that’s on stage, or in the classroom. Listening—really listening—to another person, even when you don’t agree with them, can feel dangerous, as if you are making yourself vulnerable to that other person. But that’s what allows a conversation to take place, rather than a debate.”

Science Publishing

Communities 

  • Great read by Cameron Neylon on the dangers of being defined as one thing and how this hinders interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving – “as I’ve become interested in tackling larger and more challenging problems its also become obvious that new perspectives are needed. This kind of approach needs positive, enriching filters, not negative ones, because by excluding certain streams you eliminate unfamiliar perspectives. This is why being labelled as “a scientist” generally stops me cold. It is a rejection of perspective, a rejection in my world view of an opportunity. It is bound up in a self identify of difference that uses difference as a way to filter and exclude – something that for me is in opposition to scholarship that is of most interest.”

Upcoming events 

Resources

Just for fun

Time for Clippy to make a comeback?

Event formats: List of science tweetups

When I was putting together my post on networking formats – which includes tweetups – I asked twitter for an update about which science tweetups currently exist around the world. Given there are now so many of them, I thought they deserved their own list. Happy to add or correct anything I’ve missed.

Note: tweetups are spontaneously organised by scientists and science communicators who want to meet up informally with others. There aren’t usually presentations or any set programme. Everyone’s welcome to attend – just show up and say hello!

If you don’t see one for your city, starting one is as easy as creating the new hashtag (city+scitweetup) and tweeting to see if anyone else is interested. Likewise, if there hasn’t been an event in your town for a while, why not contact the organisers below and offer to help organise one?

 US

 Canada

Europe

 Other science tweetups

URLs of wisdom (mid-September to mid-October)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology. This is a bumper edition to capture some of the posts while I’ve been away on vacation.

Behaviour

“First, academics respond well to cash incentives. No surprise there, especially as these referees are all economists.

Second, academics respond well to tight deadlines – this may surprise you. One explanation is that many academics overload themselves and find it hard to prioritise. For such an overworked individual, tightening the deadline may do the prioritisation for them.

Third, the threat of public shame also works – especially for better-paid, more senior people with a reputation to protect (and less need to impress journal editors).”

Web/Social media developments

  • There’s something rotten in the state of social media – on the problems with montetization, automation and enforcement.
  • What does ethical social networking software look like? “Social networks are like languages — they are only worthwhile when they are broadly adopted. This makes an incredibly compelling case for user tracking and advertising, since success as a broad network makes the most sense by giving network access away and then selling the people to companies. This is a hard model to escape.”
  • The evolution of your home timeline – Twitter on continuing to experiment with what we see in our feeds
  • You can now listen to a podcast in a tweet – and keep scrolling – new Twitter audio cards
  • Why Twitter should not algorithmically curate the timeline“Twitter’s uncurated feed certainly has some downsides, and I can see some algorithmic improvements that would make it easier for early users to adopt the service, but they’d potentially be chopping off the very—sometimes magical—ability of mature Twitter to surface from the network. And the key to this power isn’t the reverse chronology but rather the fact that the network allows humans to exercise free judgment on the worth of content, without strong algorithmic biases.”
  • Buzzfeed’s forthcoming news app

Academia online 

Communities 

  • Whispering in the Town Square: Can Twitter provide an escape from all its noise? “If the purpose of social networks is finding the people you actually want to talk to, then Twitter needs to not only facilitate the finding, but the talking. Once you have made friends, or by Twitter parlance found people you enjoying following, you want to deepen those connections, not necessarily continue creating new ones. That’s what DMs do that public tweets do not. If a platform doesn’t allow for intimacy once relationships are formed, then its users will inevitably leave it.”

Digital marketing

Resources

Just for fun

Move fast and break things…sometimes

URLs of wisdom (31st May)

URLs of wisdom is a weekly round-up of interesting links about topics at the intersection of people, science and technology.

Network Analysis

  • Publicly available data from Twitter is public evidence and does not necessarily constitute an “ethical dilemma” – Ernesto Priego argues that “Publicly published data is public evidence and it should be subject to public research– Facebook is not Twitter, and Twitter research is not hacking into private mobile phone messages or emails. There is a difference between surveillance and recording for historical/sociological/scientific other research.”  
  • And here’s the announcement of which six organisations have been awarded the Twitter Data Grants, giving them access to the Twitter archives. Projects include looking at discussion of diseases online and measuring the happiness of cities.

Behaviour

Privacy 

  • Facebook wants to listen in on what you’re doing The tech giant does seem well-aware that in these days of Snowden surveillance revelations, people might not be too keen for Facebook to take control of their smartphone’s mic and start listening in on them by default. It’s only rolling out the feature in the U.S. and a product PR person emphasized repeatedly that no recording is being stored, only “code.”
  • Google receives 12, 000 requests to be forgotten from Europeans on day 1

Communities

Web/Social media developments

Resources

  • The top ten posts from COMPASS about sharing your science
  • The art and science of data-driven journalism – report by Alex Howard with 14 findings, recommendations and predictions, including:
    • Better tools will emerge that democratise data  skills
    • More journalists will need to study social sciences and statistics
    • Collaborate with libraries and universities as archives, hosts and educators