I’m fine. I still exist and my life is better. I write this after several years of experiments with Open Science in social media. I still keep a presence with Google because I don’t want to delete the chemlambda collection. But in no way am I satisfied with this.
UPDATE: I deleted my Medium account, it was just another Twitter sht.
UPDATE 2: The fight of legacy media against FB is so stupid. But amusing. May be useful, like an infection with a gut parasite which makes the immune system able to kill a more dangerous viral invection. When this is done, the gut parasite is easy to get rid of…
I explained what I think is wrong with corporate social media, from the point of view of a researcher who wants to share scientific content and discuss about it. For example in thie Twitter “moment” which no longer exists. (I think very few people saw it because it was hidden by Twitter 🙂 )
Dissatisfied with the careless treatment of scientific data, precious data, by corporate social media, in this “moment” I explain that I tried, probably successfully, to socially hack Google Plus. It worked, reasons here.
The other reason for which social media is not good for Open Science is that successful collaborations via said media are very rare. Most of the interactions have almost no scientific value. It is an endless stream of hot air bubbles coming from a school of bored goldfishes.
The reason is not that people [who are willing to interact via social media] are stupid. Don’t believe this shallow explanation. I think this is because of the frame of mind cultivated by social media. People there consume, they don’t build. They are encouraged to click, not to reason. They have to do everything as quick as possible. Why? they don’t know. I imagine though that [some hackers excepted] there is not much rational thought in the brains of a casino client.
There are therefore two reasons which make social media bad for use for Open Science:
- bad, disrespectful treatment of scientific data, despite low volume and high density
- bad medium for rational interaction, despite being presented as an enhanced one.
I’ll go to a liitle bit of detail concerning Facebook and Twitter, because until now I wrote mainly about my experience with Google.
Facebook. I tried several times to use Facebook for the same purpose. But I failed, because of a complete lack of a chance for visibility. Even the 10s animations from real simulations were badly presented in FB (hence tehnical reasons). Moreover the algorithms were clearly not in favor for the kind of posts I made on Google Plus. But I have to admit that there was a matter of chance that Google had this idea of collections, plus the superior technical possibilities, which made the chemlambda collection to be very visible.
Twitter. I had a presence on Twitter since, I think, 2011. I intentionally kept a low count of people I followed, varying and keeping only those who posted interesting tweets. However, it was clear for me since a long time that there is heavy censorship, or call it editing, same, on what I see and what my followers see.
From time to time I made or consumed political tweets. I am free to do this, as far as I know, and I am a grownup whose youth was spent under heavy thought police, so allow me to be furious to see the new thought police enforced exactly by those whom I admire in principle.
Going back to Google, the same thing happened btw, here is a clear case where I was allowed a rare glimpse over the algorithmic wall, where I and my interlocutor saw each comment censored by Google in the other’ worldview:
People are more and more furious now (i.e. 2 years after), especially about Facebook and Cambridge Analitica. But let’s ignore politics and go back to using social media for science.
Well, corporate social media does not care about this. Moreover, censorship (aka algorithmic editing) can have very bad consequences for scientific communication, like: inhibition of better scientific ideas in order to protect a worse technical solution which brings money, or straight scientific theft, when a big data company obtains for free good scientific ideas.
OK, what about the Invisible College?
I think we really are on the brink of a scientific revolution. We do have technical means to interact scientifically. Most of the scientists who ever eisted on Earth are alive. Rational, educated thought and brain power, from professionals of many fields, from inquisitive minds, from creative freaks, these are in an unprecedented quantity. Add computing power to that mix, add the holy Internet. Here we are, ready to pass to a new level.
If you look back to the last scientific revolution, then one of the places where it happened was in a precursor group of the Royal Society of London called The Invisible College.
What a great idea!
Look, these people really were like us. In a past post I shared the front page of a famous book by Newton (appeared posthumously) where you can recognize the same ideas as today.
I am sure that there are others members, most of them perhaps future ones, of the Invisible College of the 21st century, where we have to solve the problems: how to treat scientific information fairly, among us, the members, and how to interact rationally and thoughtfully. Long term.
Because social media failed us. Because who cares about politics?
Here, there are lots of good names from that period, like the related “College for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematical Experimental Learning” from 1660, but my liking goes to the Invisible college.
I end with two invitations for more private discussions
but I fully encourage to discuss here as well, if you want.