On the cover of Facebook.

Thanks to Dustin Welbourne for the Facebook update!

The ASC Facebook group appears to be growing at a relatively steady rate with now > 1300 members. There is a core group of 20–50 people that regularly post material and engage in conversations. A special thank you needs to go out to James Hutson who did up an appropriate banner for the page.

The posts are a good mix of science communication related news, science or science communication science events, and job postings or opportunities for science communicators.

We are also using the Files function on the page to create content lists. These lists so far include Science Games, Podcasts, and Blogs and Vlogs.

There are some things we would like to see more of. Having members post photos and give a 200 word snippet of events would be great. Not all people that use social media use all platforms of social media. Thus, having these stories would raise awareness and interest in those events.


President’s update

Thanks to Joan Leach for the President’s Update

Debate about Debate
I recently returned from a conference where a hot topic of discussion was on just that—discussion on various social media platforms. Now, I have zero credibility in this area. I lurk and consider and admire those who are out there making pithy and insightful comments and throwing the best of the interwebs our way. But, the conference discussion was about the best way to set up networks to benefit specialist groups—like ASC. There is a camp that insists on strong rules for such social networks, and making sure that members understand the context of their posts and are posting for the benefit of the group. There is an alternative camp that says this approach weeds out the spontaneous, the interesting, the to and fro of difference that makes social media, well, social media. And then there are people like me, very engaged and interested, but lurking.

This has become more of a hot topic for ASC in the past 6 months as members have belonged to each of the camps above—strong regulators, strong freewheelers, and a large body of interested onlookers. We’ve so far tried to take the middle ground. We have our robust freewheeling public LinkedIn account. And, we have a members-only LinkedIn space. Now, we’re thinking about our approach to Facebook. If you have a view of how ASC should proceed in the social media space, let us know. We’ve had some very valuable and thoughtful feedback so far, but I’m keen to hear from more people. While I tend to take a laissez faire approach, I agree with members who indicate that there are just some things I don’t want to read about in an ASC context. And yet, I’m happy to read about differences in approach to communicating all sorts of science—and actually enjoy a bit of a robust discussion about this. Is that the balance we want—and if so, how do you think we get it?

If you have a view, can you let us know, either on our LinkedIn or Facebook channels?