Pascal’s Pensees, 5 years on

Before October 25th, 2010, I had no social media presence whatsoever – I wasn’t on Twitter, didn’t have a blog and G+ wasn’t around yet. Frankly, it hadn’t occurred to me before, but it was one of the requirements to serve as a “Social Media Representative” (Neuroblogger, in short) for the Society for Neuroscience, to cover the 2010 Annual Meeting, which I did5

Outreach efforts were also in an embryonic stage at the Society itself at that point, and by picking a few people to cover a giant meeting, one can either give new people a chance to establish a social media presence, boost existing bloggers or do a mix of both. I’m still grateful to the Society for picking me, but predictably some established bloggers were somewhat upset.

In hindsight, I think the choice by the Society to broaden the tent was justifiable as it pushed me and some others to start outreach efforts of any kind. Efforts which I aim to continue into the far future. At the same time, most of the critical blogs are now defunct.

That said, I still don’t think the “neuroblogger” concept itself is particularly well thought out. People attending the meeting will have better things to do than read a blog. People who didn’t go will have their reasons. The neurobloggers themselves will (in my experience) have some tough choices to make between attending the meeting and writing dispatches from it.

What might work better is to have a single “neuroblogger” platform (hosted on the SfN website) where people write contributions from the meeting, squarely aimed at the general public (to satisfy the outreach mission). Basically expert commentary on things that are just over the horizon, but without the breathless and unsubstantiated hype one usually gets from journalists. Perhaps have a trusted, joint twitter account, too.

Anyway. Thanks for giving me my start and I hope to be able to improve on the mission as time goes on. Semper melior.

This entry was posted in Conference, In eigener Sache, Neuroscience. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Pascal’s Pensees, 5 years on

  1. Peter Smith says:


    predictably some established bloggers were somewhat upset.

    And that’s putting it mildly. I had a look at his two most recent entries and doubt that anyone would want to be represented by him.

    • Lascap says:

      Thank you. Few communities probably have a less encouraging welcome than the “science outreach” one. Rough crowd.

      • Anonymous says:

        Rough crowd

        but with sensitive egos. Their behaviour is exactly not what we want with science outreach because the outreach communicates more than facts but also values. Values determine how we integrate science into our lives.

        The problem is they are nor engaging in science outreach but self aggrandisement. It may be a compensation for lack of citations.

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