24 May 2009

Evolution 2009: How best to go social?

Evolution 2009The Evolution 2009 meetings are less than a month away. Now is probably the last chance to assess what online presence and utilities the meetings will have.

Right now, we have the meeting website, with a page for bloggy stuff -- and it's kind of a mess at the moment, with my hastily scribbled explanation about the power of TEH INTERNETS and a list of the handful of science blogs (this one included) that are displaying an Evolution2009 badge and will have a contributor at the meetings. We've also got the Evolution2009 Twitter feed. What more could be done with this space, both to improve the meetings for participants and to open them out to the public? I have two ideas:
  • A blog carnival. I've participated in several blog carnivals in the last few months, including the Carnival of Evolution and Berry-go-Round. The Blog Carnival utility seems like a good way to round up posts on a given topic, and posting submissions to the existing "blogging" page seems like a logical way to show what participating bloggers are writing about the meetings.
  • A FriendFeed group. Following the approach used at 2008 meeting of the International Society for Computational Biology, we can open an aggregate feed of twittering, blog posts, and other online reactions to the meeting. In fact, I've set it up here already. I have two questions/qualms about this:
    • (1) Should such a group be open or invitation only? Maybe I'm paranoid, but I do worry about hijacking by, e.g., creationists.
    • (2) More importantly, how many people would actually contribute? The ISCB had "a core group of ten contributors" out of 1600 attendees. The Twitter feed has, as of the time of writing, 68 followers, not all of whom are individuals, and many of whom are not active users of Twitter, but rather seemed to have subscribed just to get the latest news. (Which is fine! If that's all the feed achieves, it's been useful.) So how many folks would actually Twitter during the meetings?
Anyway, I'm going to put the word out over the Twitter feed -- I'd love input on both of the above points, as well as suggestions for other utilities or approaches.

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