Talking about science online at #sciodc

This Wednesday, May 1, ScienceOnlineDC will be holding its inaugural event.

ScienceOnlineDC is one of several local satellites of ScienceOnline, a nonprofit organization that facilitates conversations, community, and collaborations at the intersection of science and the Web. Our goal is to bring together science journalists, bloggers, federal and private research scientists, policymakers, and other science enthusiasts in the DC metro area for dynamic discussions about how science is carried out and communicated online. My co-organizers are Geoffrey Hunt of the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow Jamie Vernon, and Hannah Waters of the Smithsonian Institution.

Our first event will focus on federal agencies’ social media policies – how does government transparency influence the social media activities of scientists and communications staff? Here’s the panelist lineup:

Jamie Vernon, moderator

Gretchen Goldman, analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists (check out her post about Wednesday’s event)

Megan McVey, communications coordinator, United States Global Change Research Program

Sarah Dewitt, communications officer, NASA, Office of the Chief Scientist

John Ohab, public affairs specialist, Naval Research Laboratory

One of the hallmarks of ScienceOnline events is the unconference format. Sure, we’ve rounded up some experts to put in the front of the room, but most of the conversation will be driven by the attendees, both in person and online. Even if you can’t be there in person, chime in via the livestream and twitter (#sciodc). Should be a great discussion.

Of course, you may be wondering why I’m pitching this event to an audience of chemists, most of whom are not in the DC area. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s important for chemists to be involved in these conversations. Because many of you are already having such conversations on twitter and each other’s blogs. And some of those conversations include pondering who could be the chemist version of Neil deGrasse Tyson. But chemistry doesn’t need one deGrasse Tyson; it needs several. So, let’s move those discussions out of the chemistry inner circle and into Science, writ large. Chemistry is the central science, after all.

And you can start by attending any gathering with other people in your community who are interested in how science is communicated. As I said earlier, ScienceOnlineDC is only one of several satellites. Others with regular events include Seattle, Vancouver, and the Bay Area. There are SpotOn events in London and New York. Attend a local #SciTweetUp or Science Cafe. Or participate in the livestreams and twitter conversations that often accompany these events.

And if you are in DC on Wednesday, c’mon by. We’d love to have you.

UPDATE, 5/6: Doh! How could I leave out ScienceOnlineBeantown???

Author: Rachel Pepling

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