Advice for #Scio12 Noobs

Jan 09 2012 Published by under [Information&Communication]

Last year was my first to attend Science Online. Yes, I was a Noob! This year, as a seasoned veteran, I can provide some advice for those of you entering this wonderful group for the first time.

  1. When it comes to electonic gizmos, more is more. This conference generates more bandwidth than anything else I attend. Find yourself in a session that's not what you expected? Pull up the live-feed of the others and change rooms. Some adventurous souls will try to live-blog sessions, while many of us settle for twitter-notes. Virtually everyone will be juggling laptops, tablets, and smart phones. That's who we are, for the most part. Don't have a smart phone? This is the place to get an overview (AKA knock-down, drag-out debate) on the relative merits of Android vs. iPhone platforms, especially if you get the right two people together in the bar. You have been warned.
  2. You will feel welcomed. The group tends to be quite friendly, and your first task will be to hug Bora, the Godfather of Science Online (if you have had your flu shot, of course). I remember people running up to me, exclaiming how good it was to meet in real life! Since many bloggers use pseudonyms, I had NO IDEA who some of these folks were, at first. For some, I still don't know a real-life name, even though I feel like we have a great bond!
  3. Try not to stare open-mouthed at your heroes. Meeting some of these writers can produce feelings of awe (yes, some of us are science groupies), but they are just as friendly and welcoming as the rest of the crowd (see #2). Want your books autographed? Bring them along!
  4. Ocean bloggers are at least as welcoming as the rest of the crowd; however, they seem to have an alcohol tolerance well above the rest of us (and I have NEVER felt like a light-weight at any other meeting). Does this have something to do with time at sea? I don't know. Just be careful. You have been warned (and neuroscientists, don't get snitty; my experience is that the ocean crew can outdo you).
  5. Be prepared to bring extra stuff home. Even with the new swag policy, I suspect we may need to check a bag and tote home an extra bag of new acquisitions. I still have my Sigma Life Science Magic 8 Ball on my desk. Yup, it made the cut for the move. Sometimes it provides the clearest, most logical solution to a daily conundrum.
  6. Be prepared for an amazing experience. Science Online was like visiting the Mother Ship; nowhere else have I encountered this many people who, like me, love science, the written word, and online communication.

If you're a Science Online Veteran, feel free to leave your tips in the comments below. If you're a 2012 noob with a question, ask in the comments and you will get answers. I promise!

14 responses so far

  • With regard to #4, please remember that this is not a competition and that in no way should attendees interpret an observation of the tolerance of some (but by no means all) of the ocean bloggers as a challenge. We're all there to have a good time, and you should have fun at your own pace.

    • Pascale says:

      Nice disclaimer, and you can attend and enjoy Scio12 without the use of any intoxicating substances. I have seen some trash talk between the ocean group and the neuroscience bloggers about drinking ability, and I note that you do not deny your superiority.

    • scicurious says:

      This neuroscientist has no illusions, I'm pretty sure that the ocean bloggers are all built like sharks, at least 50% is liver. 🙂

    • I want to emphatically emphasize Southern Fried Scientist's comment. I am starting to think that we ocean bloggers have been irresponsible with our banter and bragging over Twitter - we follow the maritime tradition of the "Big Fish" story but people not familiar with our brand of silliness may think that this is a competition. It is not. We do love a good time, and we want everyone to have fun. That means knowing your personal limits, being healthy and safe, and being able to enjoy the conference the morning after.

  • Kevin Z says:

    With that being said, Sparks will be at hand to revive any fallen soldiers. SPARK IT UP!!

  • [...] More down-to-earth and sensible discussions of what to expect at SciO12 can be found at Dr. Stemwedel's place and over at WhizBANG! [...]

  • Arlenna says:

    Waaaaah1!!!! I CAN'T GO NOW. I was all registered and everything, and then my husband got scheduled for a business trip and I was left without any way to keep my 2 year old taken care of. Too expensive to bring a family member at this point...

    So disappointed! He promises that I'll get to go next year...

  • [...] the sessions).  Look for the #scio12 hashtag.  For those who are n00bz like me, here’s a helpful guide.  Looking forward to meeting some of the people I’ve been reading. This entry was posted [...]

  • N00b with a question here. About the gadgetry, am I going to be totally confused and out of the loop if I refrain from gadgeting it up? My arsenal consists of a laptop with a broken battery, an old-school cell phone, and a kindle with an awkward browsing interface. Is it worth tethering myself to a power outlet to keep tabs on the virtual sphere?

    • Pascale says:

      Gadgetry is optional. While most of us are techno-geeks who feel lost without a battery-operated device in hand, this meeting is wonderful because it takes place in real life. While you can get something out of the OTI interactions, there's a reason we all right so hard (and get on waiting lists) to actually attend!

      So come without your laptop. Engage and enjoy!

  • [...] as well as to recruit the veterans to actively welcome new people to the community. Blog posts by Pascale, Zuska, Janet and me, as well as asking the question on Twitter, we hope, helped new people prepare [...]

  • [...] Three days out from the event, I confirm my flight and my hotel.  I look up cabs and local food.  I cruise the blog pages and watch the clock.  The next few days go by slowly and with mounting excitement as registrants post their memories of SciO11.  Inside jokes abound.  The #DSN crew has quite a rep. [...]

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