So sometime in the past week I hit 10k tweets, which somehow seems like a very large number of 140 character phrases to have sent out into the world, and so i tried to pull them together into a word cloud to see what it is I talk about all the time. I thought some words might pop out more (like rstats, I feel like I am always asking for help with R) and more science oriented words, but this is what came up.
As I was sitting reflecting on this cloud of words Alex Bond summed it up pretty well.
@RallidaeRule "I'm good. Today I like rails now get well. Thanks" Alex Bond (@thelabandfield) March 1, 2015
I do spend a lot of my time talking about rails and how awesome they are and how much i like them. But as I stared at that cloud more and more I realized that I also spend a lot of time being part of the community, talking to my friends and fellow tweeps, discussing the issues of the day, supporting each other, wishing each other well, thanking them for helping me with R.
I originally got on twitter…long ago, but I deleted all those stupid early college tweets when I came back to twitter in 2013. I somehow found people tweeting about the 2013 ESA meeting and i wanted to join the conversation, and now, a year and a half later I have grown so much because of twitter.
My view of academia is much more grounded, I understand science better, I have a community of people I can lean on and ask their advice. I’ve become more aware of how diversity impacts science and the world and I’ve tried to start doing something about it. I’ve met new collaborators and my dissertation has evolved. Everyone was with me through my comps, through all the odd interactions of grad school.
Twitter has helped me understand that I don’t have to listen to everyone’s advice. That even though my work won’t be in Nature it still has value. You have all helped me understand how my PhD might work for me outside of academia, and how I can still do amazing science even if I’m never a professor. I’ve learned how we all struggle with balancing work and family, and I’ve learned that it’s OK to put family first.
I’ve also learned that its still ok, even as an often grumpy phd student, to be excited about my subject and that I should spread that to the world about why I love science so freaking much.
Twitter has connected me with some of my most positive female role models (esp @HopeJahren, @duffy_ma, @JacquelynGill, @cbahlai, @EvoEcoAmy, @EvoPhd, @betheross, @shamansciences, @kara_woo, @sciencegurlz0 and many others). I’ve had great mentors all through my life, but most have been male, and the AMAZING female scientists I’ve met on twitter continue to inspire me and help me deal with the impostor-y feelings I encounter each day. They have helped me stand my ground in sticky situations and have helped me make sure I am not pulling up the ladder behind me.
To any grad students or other science loving folks out there, twitter is worth your time, it has brought me so much, and I hope I have given it all back to them.
Alright, enough navel gazing for one night.
You've challenged the way I think about so many issues, and introduced me to so many new ideas and cool things. Auriel Fournier (@RallidaeRule) March 1, 2015