Last fall, I was interviewed by F. Kay Kidder, a writer for Lab Manager magazine
, on the topic of marketing--specifically, whether and how scientists should market themselves using tools similar to those that people selling products and services have long deployed. Here's the resulting article
, which I just found yesterday.
The assumption behind the self-marketing ideas is that in the age of ubiquitous publicity and networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs, professional scientists need to decide whether, to what extent, and how to put themselves out there before their peers and the general public.
This was the second time I'd been interviewed on this topic; the first time
was for Marc Kuchner's blog. Kuchner is an astrophysicist and the author of Marketing for Scientists. (If you click on that link and read the interview, please ignore the provocative title.)
At the core of this discussion is an important career-related issue. It has to do with the fact that as a professional scientist you have more than one audience: the primary one--your scientific colleagues--and the rest (mainly the general public, but also policy makers and other potential stakeholders). In one camp are those--I'd say Kuchner is in this camp--who say that in order to succeed, scientists should use all the tools at their disposal to get their names out there. In the other camp is--well, me. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are fine tools--but early-career scientists aiming to become established within a research community need to be aware that although it is changing, science remains a conservative culture--one that may punish you for seeming to care too much about the wrong things.