Tackling “Tweet This Maybe?”: How-To & Resources


This post is a follow-up to Monday’s story of how a single tweet can make a difference in the total audience of a blog post.

When I open Google and begin to type “How to promote yourself,” the very first hit is: “How to promote yourself (without being sleazy).” My first page of results also includes “How to promote yourself without being a jerk,” and, “How to promote yourself without talking about yourself.” Suffice to say that if the prospect of having to work at getting your work seen and shared feels uncomfortable, you are in good company.

Most of us wish our work would be discovered and discussed by its own merits. Unfortunately, thanks to the pace and sheer volume of conversations online, that’s not how it actually goes. So, you can keep wishing the world worked differently, or you can accept that, for most of us, the discomfort of self-promotion is the price of visibility. As I wrote on Monday: “It’s better to think of this promotion as standing up for your ideas. Are they worth it? Then go to work for them.”

So how do you do that, exactly? [Read more…]

“So Tweet This, Maybe?” – Promoting Your Work In Social Media


Some people are easier to ignore than others. At an animated 6’6”, freelance writer Erik Vance is hard to miss in a crowd, and impossible to ignore when he’s poking your shoulder at the AAAS meeting, asking why you haven’t tweeted his latest story. My friend, you see, was finally ready to “get into this whole twitter thing.”

The truth was, even though the Last Word on Nothing is a blog I love, and he’s a writer I tend to follow, I hadn’t read it. In fact, I didn’t know the post existed. [Read more…]

2/22/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

It’s been an eventful week at COMPASS! With some of the team at ASLO, others at AAAS, and still others preparing for upcoming trainings and talks – we’ve been busy building networks, talking shop with old friends, and creating new material. We’re also continuing to follow the how the #scio13 hive mind has built momentum since the event a few weeks ago, and then tracking wind-down from all of the excitement surrounding #AAASmtg. Perhaps we’ll even see more musings from the lucky who were able to attend both, like this post by Christie Wilcox (that also mentions our very own Liz Neeley!). In the meantime, here’s a few other things that were on our radar this week: [Read more…]

Why Everybody Needs A Prep Talk

After considerable preparation, Dr. Mark Carr, Dr. Anke Mueller-Solger, and Dan Yparraguirre present their talks on long-term monitoring and adaptive management before an eager audience.

Photo by Chad English.

When people are asked about their greatest fears, many often include public speaking. Something about looking out into a sea of faces hanging on your every word is universally terrifying. However, for me, it is the idea of a practice talk that causes borderline panic – although I’m only looking out into a small pond of faces, they are all intently focused on what I am doing wrong and how to fix it. But here’s the thing: Public talks don’t scare me. Why? Because I am ready. And why am I ready? Because I have worked really hard to prepare.

Whether it’s a legislative briefing or a AAAS symposium, COMPASS requires the scientists we work with to commit to putting in the preparation time. Although we often work with already accomplished speakers, it still takes planning to make sure there is cohesion among multiple talks. After all, even talented musicians must rehearse before playing their first gig together. In the words of UC Santa Cruz marine ecologist Mark Carr, “The COMPASS prep calls prior to our panel presentation really helped to focus the messages of my presentation and linked my presentation with others to make a more cohesive suite of presentations and stronger messages.”

Our prep process generally involves lots of back-and-forth over email, as well as 2-3 conference calls with everyone participating in the event. As we evolve from setting the goals and framing everyone’s talks to dress rehearsals, scientists tend to go through the following three stages: [Read more…]

2/15/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

It has now been a little bit less than two weeks since the end of the ScienceOnline conference, and the attendees have since moved on to cover other happenings and events.  I’m learning that a unique aspect of the energy and thinking sparked at Science Online is that the ideas and conversation often strengthen in the weeks and months following. No doubt that energy will flow into this week’s AAAS meeting, where many ScienceOnline attendees are now in Boston including several of our own COMPASS members… they are preparing to lead and moderate sessions, live tweeting, and joining colleagues new and old for dinner or drinks (if you’re on Twitter, follow #AAASmtg – trending as we type! – and our COMPASS attendees at @LizNeeley, @KOMcleod, @ChadEnglish, and @GoldmanE). Below we have rounded up some of the continued thinking from ScienceOnline, as well as some other advice on science communication, funding, and more.   [Read more…]

AAAS 2013 – The Beauty And Benefits Of A Network

The AAAS Meeting will be held in Boston this week. 

Photo of the Boston Skyline courtesy of: Werner Kunz via Flickr.

As Boston digs out from this weekend’s historic nor’easter, the city is experiencing a second, rather different type of accumulation event. As they do every year (though the location varies), thousands of scientists and hundreds of journalists from around the world convene for the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting. This year the theme, “The Beauty and Benefits of Science,” encourages participants to think about not only the aesthetic pleasure of pure understanding, but also the practical value of applied knowledge. If you know us, you know it’s a very appealing theme for COMPASS!

This year, I’ll be attending along with Chad English, Karen McLeod, and Erica Goldman. We’ll be sitting in, and sometimes live-tweeting, sessions on topics ranging from marine spatial planning, food security, and the future of conservation to creative communication tactics and graduate education reform.

This meeting has been a fixture on the COMPASS calendar since 2001 because it offers a great breadth of science topics, making it an excellent complement to the deep disciplinary conferences we attend. Most importantly, it is an unparalleled opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues from the media, science, policy and nonprofit worlds. Year after year, our most important task at AAAS is networking. One of our most visible activities, for example, has been our signature Marine Mixer, where countless collaborations, story ideas, and projects have been hatched over the past decade. [Read more…]

2/7/13 Link Round-Up: ScienceOnline Edition

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

Back in September, I woke up at a crazy hour in the early morning to try and secure one of the coveted 450 spots available for ScienceOnline 2013. The #scio13 hashtag was streaming comments of people nervous with anticipation as the registration hour got closer. As the clock struck the hour, I refreshed my page as quick as my mouse would allow, and finally… the coveted registration page! I typed in my information as fast as possible… I held my breath… I got in! Seconds later, twitter was abuzz with people who weren’t able to register. What just happened? All 450 spots were filled in minutes over three registration periods – the names of the disappointed filled a huge waiting list. What had I just gotten myself into?

Last week #scio13 became a reality as the lucky 450 converged on Raleigh, NC. In what sounds like a first in the seven years of ScienceOnline, close to half of us (216!) were newbies. I should have known that the registration process was just the beginning of what turned out to be a fast paced, excitingly overwhelming, and completely worthwhile “unconference.” In the non-traditional, discussion based sessions (as opposed to “presentation” style) I was sitting side-by-side and hearing new ideas, skills, tips and more from famous science writers, bloggers, and scientists. I learned an almost equal amount between sessions and in conversation. While I couldn’t even begin to list everything, some of my favorite new finds are below. There are also links to help you learn more about and dig deeper into into #sco13. [Read more…]

Scientists And The Media: Flight Behavior?


At my childhood home in northern Michigan over the Christmas holidays, I curled up by our fireplace, watched the snow fall on the forest beyond our yard, and picked up a new book: “Flight Behavior,” by Barbara Kingsolver.  I had heard a little bit about the plot and the author in an interview on NPR.  It turns out Kingsolver, while being a critically acclaimed writer of award-winning fiction like the “Poisonwood Bible,” is also an environmentalist who lives off the land, and she trained as a scientist. She completed a Master’s in ecology at the University of Arizona and went most of the way through a PhD program before deciding she wanted to reach a broader audience than her thesis could. Perhaps as a result, “Flight Behavior,” though a work of fiction, has garnered praise  for its scientific accuracy and also sheds some light on the complicated interface between science and the media. [Read more…]

2/1/13 Link Roundup

Happy Friday, link roundup readers! This week we had two great posts go up on the COMPASSblog: One by Erica Goldman on the pains and rewards of transitioning away from a traditional science career, and another by Brooke, announcing an opportunity for someone who’s already taken the plunge (transitioning from science to business) to help us navigate new boundaries. If you know an MBA student who would be great for this position, let us know by emailing Brooke ASAP at [email protected] [Read more…]