There was a recent post by Carly Strasser (@carlystrasser) with the title ‘Oceanographers: why so shy’. In it, Carly talks about her disappointment at the lack of social media engagement at the recent TOS/ASLO/AGU Ocean Sciences 2012 Meeting and tells the story of how audible clapping broke out when disparaging comments were made about social media in one of the presentations. In many ways this is not completely unexpected. Scientists can be an especially stubborn bunch when it comes to adopting new technology: I’ve heard stories of how, not so long ago, many scientists were reluctant to use PowerPoint presentations and, before that, overhead projectors. Generally, the way new technologies become mainstream in science seems to be from the bottom up: young scientists use them, and eventually (most but not all) the more established scientists sit-up and take notice, but only once a critical mass is reached. There are of course exceptions – I follow a few senior scientists on Twitter for instance – but have a look at your own Twitter friends: I bet most of them are closer to the beginning of their careers than the end.
Words in mOcean is proposing that those forward-thinking marine scientists who do use social media (probably those of you reading this) take action. What we need to do is recruit more of our colleagues into the Twitter world. Between us we have access to hundreds/thousands of potential new marine tweeps. So here is the challenge: recruit friends, enemies, lab-mates, office-mates and even your supervisors onto Twitter and then send a message to @Words_in_mOcean with the Twitter name of the person you recruited, including the hashtag ‘#NewMarineTweep’; these will be recorded, and at the end of the year we will name the top 10 ‘marine-scientist recruiters’. We will also Tweet the name of the top recruiter on a month by month basis (starting with March).
So what are you waiting for Tweople, get recruiting!