Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

More to Online than just Information

Posted by stevepog on 2 December, 2009

I visited the cavernous confines of Olympia Grand Hall in west London yesterday, totally unprepared for the mammoth event that is the  Online Information Conference (#online09 on Twitter).

Not sure what I was expecting: maybe a few stands with bored sales reps handing out flyers on data management and XML development (they had some of those) but the last thing I thought I’d see was an actual Formula One car and an F1 driving simulator, thanks to the big-spending crew at Thomson Reuters. The simulator was a tricky beast with very light handling but of course I didn’t try it as I was there to work hard (but somehow scored a top six placing anyway).

Simulator similar to the one at Online Information conference

Apparently the heavily-branded car relates to their sponsorship of the AT&T Williams team, though beyond that it was anyone’s guess what it had to do with the conference itself. Apparently even Williams F1 driver Kazuki Nakajima was dropping in today for a visit. No, that’s not him in the car.

Apart from the overly large TR presence, it was great to meet up with my American counterparts from science conferences and library journals to discuss whatever people like us talk about (i.e. telling everyone how amazing f1000 is and encouraging them to write and talk about us to their colleagues and audience).

Many of the free seminars at the rear of the building filled up quickly but one I did catch from start to finish was an admirable effort on social media by iCrossing‘s Mark Higginson.

Mark had stepped in at the last minute due to a sick colleague, which had some of us expecting a dull diatribe on how Twitter and Youtube work. And given that everyone who’s ever used Facebook thinks they can give a talk or write a book on the magical world of social media, I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic.

But thankfully Mark actually provided some useful statistics and went into detail on what kind of web traffic is important. As he said, it’s all very well for  Facebook to say they account for 1 in 7 web page views in the UK but it’s what visitors do after they hit the homepage that’s important. So it goes that constantly updating and improving content on your landing page is a big key to a website’s (and hopefully company’s) success.

For those who are starting out in science blogging, his points were adaptable to our area: look to see who the most influential and interesting bloggers are, where they are (the obvious scienceblogging.com, researchblogging.com or more specific sites) and what media they are using (straight-up long form blogs, micro-blogs, video sharing etc). Get involved in the conversations they are having and create your own unique content. For those who are experts on a subject such as nanotechnology, commenting on a piece on the Wired website and referring back to your own blog is one way to drive more traffic to your site.

Overall very interesting afternoon out and for anyone who scored better than a 1.57 on the simulator (and I’m sure by now there will be quite a few), I hope you take away more from the conference than a mousemat or free pen.

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