Emily LakdawallaJan 30, 2013

Scientists: Register to be a Lunar and Planetary Science Conference Microblogger!

Hey planetary scientists! Many of you know that the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) is a great meeting in a venue that is perfect except for one thing: Internet access is positively lousy. There's no wireless access in the sessions, and AT&T cellular data services are overwhelmed and unusable. I had many conversations with conference organizers last year about this problem, and I learned that there's nothing that LPI can do in the short term to improve access to the Internet from scientific sessions for all attendees. It's not because of conference policy; it's because of the venue's lack of capacity. It's a bummer because everything else about the meeting venue is super convenient.

So I am really delighted that a partial solution that I suggested to LPSC organizers is being put in place this year: give a few selected people access to the limited bandwidth available, on the condition that they use their power for good. The good being communicating to the public about what is being presented at the conference.

All we ask in exchange is that you use your social media outlets to comment on what’s going on during the week of the conference. Heard a great talk? Send out a tweet. Went to a great session? Post something on your Facebook page. Ran into a former colleague and had a great time catching up with their research? Post a comment!

We are looking for a good mix of participants to help provide extended social media coverage of the conference, and applications will be accepted from the working press, college students, scientists, retired professionals, etc.

The novel thing about this solution (novel, at least, for planetary science meetings) is that it's not just a perk for registered media. It is being offered also to registered attendees. It was very important to me that not only media be given access to the limited WiFi available; it's something that I advocated vociferously for last year. I find that the best quality tweets coming from within scientific sessions at meetings are from scientists, because they know all-important context that helps them identify what is new or different or surprising (or, sometimes, wrong) about a study.

Apply to be an LPSC Microblogger here. The deadline is February 18. I especially encourage young scientists to apply. This would be a great way for you to increase your profile in the scientific community. Note that if you are media, you also need to apply!

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