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Sciblogs very own Peter Griffin gave an excellent talk at SCANZ on the application of social media to the communication of science. I’ve always been impressed with how enthusiastic and knowledgeable Peter is regarding social media and the related technologies – the same technologies that can leave me scratching my head.

In his talk, Peter outlined the rewards and the responsibilities in using social media effectively. He described the need to carefully think through what your purpose was in using social media and in choosing which media you use – blogging, Youtube, Twitter – all of which have different benefits and applications.

Twitter provides a valuable listening device, but to be used effectively it pays to be active and engaged in it’s use – being witty, clever and brief, and retweeting others and promoting one’s own tweets.

Youtube provided a visual medium, but Peter pointed out that shrinking attention spans mean that it is a good idea to get your message(s) across in 90 seconds or less. He also recommends branding your channel and organising the content to make it easy to use and to stand out from the others, as well as engaging with your community (via the comments) and promoting your videos to others.

Peter also described emerging technologies – Storify, Soundcloud and Pinterest. Soundcloud sounds quite intriguing as a podcasting tool. Now all I need is a couple of weeks off work to explore these technologies.

It is great to have Peter looking after the Science Media Centre in Wellington. Not only is he enthusiastic and knowledgeable about social media and technology, he and his team also do a brilliant job co-ordinating the scibloggers site and linking journalists up with scientists.

He even has me looking at tweeting again, after initially dismissing it as “too hard.”