Sarah: Some time ago I wrote of my foray into Web 2.0/social media. Could I use Facebook and twitter to source positive influences, find information and invigorate my work practice? Before I go any further, I should probably explain a little more about my role at Bridge8. Officially labeled as ‘science and industry analyst’, I apply my skills in science, communication, planning and strategy to create integrated solutions for industry, government and education sectors focused on science, technology and innovation. Recent projects with Bridge8 colleagues have included the nanotechnology education package AccessNano, a chapter on emerging technologies in a science book to be published by Oxford University Press, the launch of the technology-centric environment-focused joint venture CleanFutures and a consideration of how the Bridge8 website might be improved.
So how has Web 2.0 helped me with this process? Facebook…..not so much. Admittedly, I have made no effort to recruit career-relevant ‘friends’ into this platform, and hence most of my personal Facebook conversations still revolve around updating interstate and international friends and family on children, social and house renovation news. (In case you were wondering, Bridge8 has a page on Facebook too).
Twitter, on the other hand, is another story. In this forum, I have deliberately sought out selected science, technology, futurist, marketing and social media contacts based in Adelaide, across Australia and internationally. At the moment, I am only following 53 fellow twitterers, and yet I still receive valuable snippets and links on a daily basis. A sample of tweets which have impacted on my Bridge8 work include:
- In answering my tweet requesting a good example of bottom-up nanotechnology that high school kids might be interested in, @fang directed me to a website describing how to make nano-sized Barack Obama images (http://www.nanobama.com/);
- In response to my tweety ponderings regarding the prevalence and safety of nano-sized metal oxide particles in sunscreens, @neuraxon77 provided me with lots of links and conversation;
- Social media guru @chrisbrogan providing a constant, entertaining and highly valuble stream of personal thoughts, links and recommendations on a whole range of topics, such as to how to get the most out of your website and use Web 2.0 for business and networking.
For the record, I am also really digging following @lancearmstrong (hot off the press – his latest riding shoe prototype from Nike weighs only 185g. Wow.)
Still feeling unsure about twitter? If you want to try it out as a tool for environmental scanning or other work-relevant reasons, here are my 3 hot tips:
- Be targeted in whom you chose to follow to avoid wasting time sorting through continually irrelevant and banal tweets;
- Practice writing pointed and irresistible tweets (remember, 140 characters is the limit); and
- Make sure you reply to, or publicly thank valuable twitterers for useful information, or ‘pay it forward’ in the form of a re-tweet (‘RT’).
If you want to keep track of Bridge8 activities, please feel free to follow me (@sciencesarah), Kristin (@kristinalford) or our travelling twitter account (@b8travels). Go on, give it a go! More updates from me in the near future.
[image thanks to http://kidsonline.edusoftmax.com/tweety_bird_pic1.html%5D