Hard to believe, but 2014 will be my fourth Science Online meeting. I have the name badges to prove it:
Since my first year, I have tried to give sound, sage advice to newcomers to the group. I have always felt welcomed into the fold, although I can see how some of the more introverted newbies might not get all warm and fuzzy in this atmosphere. I still believe that Science Online can be a great adventure in which everyone should want to participate. Thus, once more, I will try to provide words of wisdom for those first experiencing the unmeeting:
Here goes for 2014:
- Pack your gizmos and chargers: If there is one thing that brings us all together, it's online communication. We have the bandwidth to live-tweet, live-blog, and otherwise spread this meeting from coast-to-coast and beyond. Laptops, smartphones, computers, cameras - all are welcome for all events.
- Start planning: Some events have limited enrollment, including the field trips on Wednesday, March 26. I highly recommend the Duke Lemur Center, although I sincerely hope it warms up considerably between now and then.
- Be prepared to think and learn: Discussions, facilitated by a moderator, are the keystone of this event. The sum of the knowledge in the room is greater than that of any one person. No matter what topic you choose, you can provide new information and you will learn new things. Professional writers bring new points of view and skills to sciencey people like me, and I hope I do the same for them.
- Be prepared to have fun: Yes, there will be opportunities to socialize with your new BFFs in a variety of venues. Efforts have been made this year to provide some lower-key, less-noisy areas. I will be in the rowdier places, but to each their own.
- Go over the attendee list: It's available here. There may be people you want to meet or career paths you long to learn about.
I will be glad to take questions in the comments (if you want to know it, someone else does as well).