Today is my re-entry into the blogosphere with this “blogfolio” here, and I thought I’d kick it off with an appropriate anecdote for ye modern age of social media…
Back in August, I was out of grad school and out of a job. I had just finished an intense, eye-opening science journalism experience at The Orange County Register through the wonderful AAAS Mass Media Fellowship Program. Under Gary Robbins’ patient, expert tutelage, I felt encouraged to continue on the science writing path. But where?
Fortunately, AAAS is great at facilitating networking. My summer was sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, whose communications officer, Russ Campbell, was invited to meet fellows at our closing ceremony in D.C.
Russ generously offered to meet up should I find my way back to North Carolina, where he’s based. He left his card, which included his blog URL and Twitter handle. Having learned basic tweeting from Gary, I was eager to follow new contacts, so I added Russ.
Through the AAAS network and Russ’ tweets, I was introduced to a who’s who of writers, particularly those in North Carolina. Still, there were a whole lotta tweets each day to process for the uninitiated. But a stroke of luck had me checking Twitter at a particular moment on September 1st, when upon one of Russ’ tweets caught my eye:
That Bora name sounded familiar from some random science-on-the-web conference I attended in January, plus I’d seen it in heapfuls of the retweets in my feed. But more importantly, it was another science writing opportunity. More practice, and I get to reconnect with marine biology and fishes — two long-time passions. It sounded pretty good.
Naturally, Bora didn’t work for Sea Grant — he simply tweeted the link and Russ in turn retweeted.
Social media at work. Twitter allowed me to connect to a network of North Carolina science communicators who were freely sharing tips and quips, as nature/Jack Dorsey intended. I was simply the newest node on the network.
Make this long story short — I applied. When it came time to interview, I was time zones away in Arizona. So we Skyped. I used an old digital camera as a webcam, fixing it to my laptop screen with putty. A makeshift video conference. MacGyver meets broadband.
I got the offer a few days later. And through Twitter, I’ve become acquainted with @BoraZ and a growing list of other writers and scientists from around the world.
Oh, and how did I even hear about the AAAS fellowship in the first place? And how did I end up at ScienceOnline2009? The credit goes to my dear friend @dapchap, but we’ll save those stories for another time…
Thanks for reading, and welcome! (And see you at ScienceOnline2010!)