Welcome back to Question Time! Last week we had our second Twitter discussion, and let me tell you people it either went way better or way worse depending on how much you like corn gods. Here’s the Storify:
View the story “#sci4hels Question Time #2″ on Storify
This great post by @roseveleth provides answers and examples sure to be appreciated by many. Advice given casts light on the functional differences in practice between science and PR communication. A good point was made by @sciencecomic about reinforcing online dialogue with occasional real life communication. I think occasional real life communication could be important to avoid wasting time in the verification of facts. Thanks for the combination of diverse sources!
I like the tips. I have to say, though, that the big honking thing missing from a lot of this is consideration of the time it takes.
I don’t follow THAT many Twitter feeds — <100. And keeping up with it would take my whole day if I really wanted to understand all the conversations. And all the time I spend looking for good stuff to tweet I could be doing something that makes me money — which i need to eat.
Then I have to actually write and report "good stuff." That means finding sources and talking to people and actually writing the damned thing. That takes time. There's a sense I get sometimes that people think this happens instantaneously. Let's say you type 30 words per minute: a 1,000 word piece therefore takes a bit more than a half hour. Assuming you NEVER need to edit, verify a fact, or anything else.
Some of us also need to sleep. And eat. And have lives that don't revolve around social media. I am too busy looking for good ideas, frankly, to spend hour upon hour on Twitter. (Not that Twitter can't be a source for good ideas, but good stories require reaching out to real, human, people, and Twitter is not always a good way to do that).
There's a sense I sometimes get with online evangelists that they assume the following:
– I need no money
– I need no sleep
– I spend every waking second with a device
– I am telepathic — no research necessary!
– Interviews are instantly digested, performed, fact-checked (see above)
– everything I write emerges perfectly formed, ready to go!
I don't think that describes anyone. Or at least, I hope not. It does skew to people with no obligations or VERY understanding spouses. Or tenure.
(This also relates to why I have very mixed feelings about your "working for free" posting, and issues of diversity in journalism — which I think the above does a lot to quash outright).
Sorry to be a bit of a curmudgeon. But much as I love working with some things in a social-media context, or at least find it useful, sometimes I get a bit put out, 'cuz I have to make a living, you know? And cook dinner. And go to the grocery store. And all that life stuff that doesn't involve a device.
Maybe I am just not cut out for the online living these days.
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