#SCIO13: Online science in the polder

In The Netherlands, and maybe even Europe in general, the ScienceOnline way of thinking is at very early stages yet, so it is with some jealousy that I am walking around here in Raleigh at the Science Online 2013 conference seeing all these people taking online science communication so much for granted, while at the same time thinking about the endless possibilities for expansion as new online tools present themselves.

Sidenote: it is also fun to be in a place where you may find yourself in line waiting to get your face sampled for mites, when sudenly some guy – the great @doug_ellison as it turns out later – comes in, sets up his laptop to get us watching the launch of some rocket, and everyone all cheers along like it is the most natural thing to do. Loving it!

Anyway, as someone involved in trying to get Dutch scientists to take an interest in the great opportunities that lie in the online world (http://wetenschapper20.wordpress.com, in Dutch mainly), this SciO can also be a little daunting, especially as I can’t help but wonder what the Dutch equivalent of a meeting like this might look like. There are no real Dutch counterparts to the big social media guns hanging out here (basically everybody present). So what would be the point of such a meeting?

But maybe that would be exactly the point. The ScienceOnline community here, I believe, has something like a seven year lead on us European laggards. And actually looking again at my list of Dutch bloggers (again, in Dutch), I realized that maybe this is not a bad thing at all, we just have some catching up to do, maybe starting at where ScienceOnline was several years ago. There definitely is potential. A meeting like this would probably be just the thing to get the ball rolling a little faster. Right?

Would the more experienced ScienceOnline community confirm that idea? In what way have earlier SciO meetings influenced the way people think about blogging and about online science communication In general? What kind of impact could be expected from a meeting like this?

It is nice to think about possibilities, and who knows, we might even get some people in the polder enthusiastic enough to take the next step.


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