I think over the course of the last year or so I have been shoving Twitter as a platform for science to UnderGrads at every opportunity. This roughly translates to a lot of “You should join Twitter, the science community is fantastic there!” in between serious conversations on how to breed transgenic fish lines to getting over a writing slump. But I figured you need a bit more encouragement or rather a bullet-point list of all the reasons why you should have joined the Twitter Sci Family the day before yesterday. So here goes:
- It’s a community; alive and breathing and on the constant hunt for coffee. I don’t think I have ever felt a part of such a large, global community despite the geographical distance among us all. If you have a question, I assure you someone somewhere is awake and will try their best to help you answer it.
- It’s a peek into the academic world of ‘grownups’ for an UnderGrad. If you have ever wondered how this cohesive mess of PIs, grad students, UnderGrads, faculty etc work then this is your chance to peer under the hood of the beast.
- It’s a great place to see what happens when things don’t work out. It’s always good to remember that not everything will work out exactly how you planned it to and that’s perfectly fine. Trial and error, that is the way of life. I find this to be a comforting philosophy to follow both in the lab and in whatever remaining parts of my life are not hovering around the lab.
- Networking, the dreaded buzzword of GenX. You can find people working on the same things as you, interesting papers, interesting authors of said papers, potential supervisors and more than a few friendly ears to share lab stories.
- You are part of a global story of science and Twitter has hammered that into my brain. No matter what you are going through at the moment, you are not alone. From dealing with depression to handling a difficult situation with people in the lab, you can reach out to this community. Sure, they won’t be able to solve your problem for you, but they will be able to nudge you on the path to the solution at the very least. You may be lonely but I assure you, you won’t be alone in this community. And the global perspective you get on how the other side of the world runs is invaluable in making several decisions.
- If you are like me and fancy yourself to be sort of Jack of all trades than twitter is like a digital library of the weird, the unusual and the check-this-out links to papers and science reporting. Also, you learn new things almost every day and that is just fantastic!
- Research tool. Now, I saved the best for last. Twitter Sci Community, may you live long and prosper, is a treasure trove of resources from handy lab techniques to writing tips and books and blog posts on how to science… you just have to silently look through the blogs of the scientists in the community.
Now was I convincing enough for you to at least give the Sci community on Twitter a try? You can go through the list of people I follow on Twitter as well to get an idea of the variety of scientists that’s there. By the way, Chloe Warren has written an excellent starter guide for the Twitter-inclined academic and you should go read it.