Do you want to discuss science? Use Twitter

Nature just published a survey of how scientists use social media:

The results confirm that ResearchGate is certainly well-known (see ‘Remarkable reach’, and full results online at More than 88% of scientists and engineers said that they were aware of it — slightly more than had heard of Google+ and Twitter — with little difference between countries. Just under half said that they visit regularly, putting the site second only to Google Scholar, and ahead of Facebook and LinkedIn. Almost 29% of regular visitors had signed up for a profile on ResearchGate in the past year.

Here is their graph for usage:

Science social networks(There’s such a thing as Microsoft Academic Search?!)

So a lot of people are “using” ResearchGate. But if you look into the details of how it’s being used, it’s basically LinkedIn for scientists. Something that people check and update because they feel like they should for professional reasons. But look at how people use these networks! It’s clear: if you want to discuss research and actually interact with other scientists, you should really be using Twitter.

Why you should use twitter


What are scientists? (Hint: we are liars.)

I thought that this was funny:

I figured I could try some other variations:

Apparently, inquiring minds want to know: are researchers working on herpes?


Learning neuroscience without being talked down to

Whenever a nonscientist friend sends me something to read about neuroscience, I usually smile weakly and pretend to read it. Sure, these articles are interesting but they are often imprecise and not as packed with information as I would like. Neuroscience is a large and deep field, and while I know some fraction of it quite well, there is much more that I do not – and the best way to learn about it is to hear from the experts who are not trying to talk down to you.

I guess the field is maturing enough that we are now starting to have access to regularly updated shows in this format. One, in video format, is with the most recent video posted above. It looks pretty great so far and has a kickstarter for funding to create more episodes. Seriously, go donate.

The other is an interview podcast series by the students at Stanford Neuroscience called NeuroTalk. Every week or so, a neuroscience seminar speaker visits Stanford to give a talk on their work; the students have decided to interview the speakers, have them give a concise description of what they do, and get them to chat for a bit. It’s a fantastic idea and something I wish my current university did…  Here is someone who does decision-making, for example.

Beyond this, you can often see recorded lectures just by going to youtube and typing in a scientist’s name… it is often worth it.