Social media are rapidly becoming a part of scientific meetings. It is no longer unusual to tweet from meetings and summary reports of talks can often be found on blogs.
Many meeting organizers support bloggers and microbloggers. To give only a few examples: the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s (FASEB) upcoming meeting on Experimental Biology is supportive of scientist bloggers discussing the meeting content online. For the past few years the International conference on intelligent systems for molecular biology (ISMB) has linked FriendFeed discussions about every talk to the meeting’s homepage, assuring that these exchanges are archived and easily accessible.
Organizers at the recent Keystone meeting on Stem Cells, Cancer and Metastasis provided a Twitter hashtag to initiate dialog between meeting participants and discuss questions raised at the meeting. Similarly, at the Workshop on visualizing biological data in March, tweeting was encouraged and eagerly embraced by attendees.
At this year’s Advances in Genome Biology and Technology meeting one speaker underscored his support of social media by wearing a T-shirt displaying “Tweet me” in large print. While we do not suggest such a dress code be made mandatory, we do, in principle, support the spirit behind the openness, as long as reasonable and clearly communicated restrictions by presenters are honored, as discussed in the editorial in our April issue.
Given that social media are still rapidly evolving the scientific community needs to keep up a dialog as to how to best use them. We are keen to hear about our readers’ experiences with meeting blogs and tweets.