Maybe it’s just me, but I find that staying informed of current research practice often feels like I’m trying to take a sip of water from a fire hose. Journal articles only scratch the surface, with vast more treasures lying in wait through social media postings.
It seemed so effortless, but when I tried to do it during that first conference, it was frantic - simultaneously sharing tidbits as I tried to listen and absorb new knowledge, take photos, look up speakers' usernames and relevant hashtags, and edit my final message to fit the available 140 characters (at the time).
Since then, I've live-tweeted a few more conferences, and have figured out a workflow to engage folks online without being glued to your phone and losing the value of the in-person presentation.
(Spoiler alert: It's all about the pre-conference prep!)
The amount of information shared in the last ten months around COVID-19 and responses to pandemic management is incalculable. And, while it is an exciting time in science to realize that indeed we have the ability to rapidly develop, test and market vaccinations in the hopes of smothering the virus - what other diseases can we finally tackle with this vigour? - it has also laid bare the challenges that science has in the knowledge translation and implementation of its results.
Sixteen years ago, I would have been astounded to see my name as a presenter on a panel discussing applied research jobs in health and biosciences. Because sixteen years ago, and for a few years thereafter, the most frequent search term in my browser - aside from "caffeine + margin of safety" - was "non-academic jobs + PhD".
Personal blog for Bryn Robinson, PhD. All opinions are my own.