Monday, January 25, 2010

ScienceOnline 2010: A great experience!

After a long hiatus from blogging, I am back, and inspired by the awesomeness that is the ScienceOnline2010 conference here in Research Triangle Park, NC.

I've been an occasional lurker of for a few years now, and reading the informative, insightful, and entertaining posts of the bloggers there is what originally inspired me to start up Science with Moxie. I'm also very interested in the intersection between science, popular culture, and policy, so once I found out that many of the scientists/bloggers/writers/journalists that I've admired over the years were going to be in attendance right in my backyard (less than 15 minutes from my house!) I jumped at the chance to attend.

The conference definitely did not disappoint. There were a couple workshops on the Friday before that I attended on blogging and on podcasting. I was sitting in the second workshop on podcasting waiting for it to begin and trying to do my best impression of the lurking I do while browsing science blogs online when one of the wonderful creators of the conference, Bora Zivkovic, came up to me and greeted me by name. It was completely awesome and kind of surprising considering that I'd only interacted with him through Twitter. That first burst of friendliness was a great representation of the overall spirit of the conference. It seemed that little steps were taken at very turn to ensure a pleasant and fun experience, including a tasty locally grown lunch from two of my favorites, Saladelia's and Locopops.

It was a little surreal to spot all the faces that I've only seen in pixelated photos on the side of blogs or at the top of e-articles. I think the most OMGZ NERD FAMOUS person I recognized there was Mr. Carl Zimmer of New York Times and NPR fame. I didn't take the opportunity to talk to him because it was enough to bask in the radiance of his nerd rays from afar.

The sessions were spectacular. I attended a few that were really helpful in gaining perspective on career options in the broad fields covered by the conference. Actually, one of the most exciting things was the sheer diversity of the professions present at the conference. I got to mingle with authors, journalists, scientists, professors, educators, lawyers, bloggers, and people involved in the entertainment media. I don't think I've ever come across a conference so teeming with energy and excitement about new media, technology, and the places that it can take us as a society. The whole experience was extremely positive, and inspired me to keep typing away at this lil' ol' blog.

P.S. You can view some shots from the conference in the video below. I make a cameo at 4:25!