In last few years we have seen a surge in the number of people participating in online social networks. However, the scientific fraternity is somewhat wary about the whole idea of social networking. I know a lot of key scientists stay away from social networking. They swear by the fact that it is really a waste of time. However, in the middle of a hectic day I don’t hesitate to quickly scan the facebook page or the twitter page. If I do not check these I feel somehow incomplete. Let me explain why.
Meeting people in-person is becoming a big challenge!
Every time I meet my fellow scientists during lunch hours in the canteen, I hear them talking about things that I am completely unaware of. In other words, I have no updates on anyone in the institute other than myself alone. Self centered? Yes I guess so. I consider not knowing about others a serious lapse on my part. On the other hand, I am not sure where people get the time to keep up with each other. I do the math in my head: Go to lab at 9.30 AM. Take few minutes to write down the jobs for the day. Next 3 – 4 hours “working” on bench, trouble shooting. 1 – 2 PM lunch break and socialize with my fellow colleagues over the lunch table. 2 PM onwards meeting with students discuss work/project. After 4 PM follow up on purchase/payment/vendor/funds/administration till 5 PM. Then continue with work till 7.30 PM. Meanwhile get interrupted numerous times by unsolicited visitors, phone calls, meetings etc. etc. Amidst all this, I never feel the urge to get up and go and meet someone unless work demands it. So, I am not sure how people do it. Over the phone? Possible. On the other hand, I find it very convenient to look at my computer screen browse and see who is posting what on social media like Twitter/Facebook. That way I reach out to more people and know many more people than I would if I were to go around and see them personally. Scientific social media like Researchgate.net, Academia.edu, Biomedexpert, Expertexchange, wiki, Mendeley, Scoopit, bloggers etc . I find Facebook pages of Nature, Biomedcentral, ASM, etc. incredibly useful since the first information on a great paper appears right on my screen without my searching for it. Twitter gives me much more information than I would ever need. If I knew Carl Zimmerman or Ed young personally, I would never have the amount of regard I have for them now through their writing prowess as scientific bloggers.
So what is the point? The point is no matter how much ever the wellness experts and social scientists abhor social media over normal human interactions; I hard sell social media alongside meeting people the natural way. I am a big fan of Facebooking, Blogging, Twittering over walking over to people and say hi. The reason why I am here in this blogsphere is because of social media. I would like to know what you guys think about it.