Saturday, March 1, 2014

Why you should be paying attention to #scio14 (and why I am sad I couldn't go).

The last few days I have been watching, in amazement, ScienceOnline unfold. After recommendations fro friends and colleagues at places like TechSoup and Upwell I started to pay attention to this conference. While watching I started to long to attend this festival. After having attended everything from the BLUE Ocean Film Festival, Solar Conventions in San Jose, Geography Conferences through Google, Outside Land's Greenspace, and SXSW Eco I have to admit, I am an addict.

I love these coming of the minds that links science and nature and communication. Ignoring the instant buzz you get from so much activity and so many people that you would find at any conference, these eco-tech-media ones feel like a type of science camp where you meet tons of people who grow excited about similar things to you.

ScienceOnline is almost like the king of all of these conferences. It gets to the heart of one question that runs through the entirety of these events. At every conference I have gone to the conversation of how science can communicate easier and more efficiently to a more massive audience comes up.

Just read their mission:
ScienceOnline’s mission is to cultivate the ways science is conducted, shared, and communicated online. We bring together a diverse and growing group of researchers, science writers, artists, programmers, and educators —those who conduct or communicate science online– for meaningful face-to-face conversations around timely, relevant issues. We nurture this global, ongoing, online community and facilitate collaborations which would not have been previously possible. The goal of all this is better science communication within the science community, with the public, and with policymakers. 
Makes me giddy just reading it, they help scientists make people more educated on complex issues and more effectively communicate.  It is at ScienceOnline where ideas like scientists piggybacking on #sharkweek get generated. David "Why Sharks Matter" Schiffman learned this lesson well and is now one of the most popular active Ocean and Shark scientists online. I have been following his posts on ScienceOnline and it has been torturous.

There are panels on how to collaborate on projects through the internet, how to communicate the very complex concept of uncertainty on social media and how to build online communities.

And it is all streaming LIVE.

I want to go and learn and discuss and connect and share. Next year, ScienceOnline, next year. I mean who doesn't want to go to an "Intergalactic Gala?"

This is a convention that will teach anyone in a complicated field how to create what is known as "digestible content." As one who works in communications, the environment and with a lot of very well educated scientists helping them communicate easier and more effectively with the tools available online this is a very important meeting of the minds. This meeting is, in my humble opinion, part of a growing movement that could change the way the world is connected with science.

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