The social development of the web 2.0 has largely bypassed science. Hugely popular websites such as facebook, myspace, twitter, digg, delicious and the like have millions of members and generate huge amounts of traffic. But those who use these sites come from all walks of life. None are devoted solely to science. This situation is a bit odd, given the fact that focus is part of the web 2.0 mantra. In other words, your website or podcast may only have 20,000 visitors, but they are highly interested in your topic. This is great for advertising, because you know the audience very well.
With this consideration in mind, it would seem that social networking sites that cater to scientists would have special value and appeal. A few have been launched so far – scilink immediately comes to mind with 45,000 registered members. But there is certainly room for improvement – check out compete.com to see how little site traffic scilink generates.
This fall we will launch biocrowd.com, a new social network designed by scientists (myself and my colleague Cliff Mintz) for bioscientists who wish to connect with others to advance or shape their careers. Please visit the home page to sign up to be notified when we launch. Biocrowd will combine the interactivity of sites like facebook with tools specifically geared towards advancing your career in the biosciences. Which includes, of course, virology.