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It’s A Small World

Small Worlds is a new initiative organised by Alan Cann at the University of Leicester (and of the excellent Microbiology Bytes) that aims to encourage scientists to use the immense power of web 2.0 in their professional lives.

Alan points out that although scientists were the pioneers of the internet, we have been slow to latch onto the idea that it’s latest incarnation, web 2.0 (a.k.a. “the read/write web”), can be an extremely useful tool for forming professional collaborations among groups and individuals.

The Small Worlds project hopes to overcome this by providing information on how scientists can use services like Twitter, Seesmic, Delicious, Friendfeed etc. to build their network and, crucially, by encouraging us all to make a concerted effort to link up.

One group who could particularly benefit are early stage research scientists who lack an adequate mentor/peer support structure around them, for example those in small research groups, who could use web 2.0 applications to build a network of fellow researchers whose experience they can draw upon to help with their professional development.Such a network can also provide valuable moral support at an often difficult period career period!

Many of our readers fall into this category, so I’d encourage you to head along to the Small Worlds project site and start getting yourself networked!

If you use web 2.0 in your professional life already, drop us a comment on your experiences.


  1. Steve Koch on June 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    And BTW: I should mention that I found your excellent post via Mr. Gunn’s link on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/sdbn/c746cd50/bitesize-bio-small-worlds-is-new-initiative

  2. Steve Koch on June 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    I really like what you say about web 2.0 being particularly valuable for early-stage research scientists. For me as an early professor, I have benefited tremendously from participation in OpenWetWare and FriendFeed. In particular, all kinds of advice and stimulating conversation can be found in the “Science 2.0” and “The Life Scientists” room on FriendFeed.

  3. Jim H on October 8, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I have been pulled into the Web 2.0 movement by getting involved in BioBar Camp, the predecessor to SciFoo camp held at Google in August. Now I find myself spending more time following my FriendFeed links than I spend doing lab work!

    I also recommend using Google Groups as a means of sharing data and files between like-minded individuals.

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