I had lunch with Sarah Greene, the new editor of The Scientist today (so new, the yolk’s still glistening). It’s not name-dropping if I work with her (and anyway, I wrote the press release).
Where was I? Oh yes.
We got to talking about how we want to bring Faculty of 1000 and The Scientist closer together; what each can bring to the table and where, in fact, I fit in. One of the things we considered was videos. Now, I might be a little old-fashioned in many ways, but I’m pretty hip and happening when it comes to the new meeja (thinks: can I persuade Vitek to buy me an iPad?). At least, that’s what it says on my job description. However, I’m feeling more than a little ambivalent about video—at least for scientists and the stuff that
they we like to do during daylight hours (once the lights go out, you’re on your own, boys and girls).
You see, when I was in the lab—and even now that I fly a desk—I feel very itchy about watching work-related videos on the firm’s time. If the video is longer than about 2’53″ then I’ll either jump to near the end, if it’s like to be important; or (more usually) skip it altogether. I’ve not even watched the f1000 videos I’m supposedly responsible for. Podcasts? Fine! I’ll stick on the headphones and listen to a podcast, or preferably stick it on my iPod and listen to it on the Tube going to or from work (I’ve tried doing the same with videos, but I find watching out for tourists at Green Park a better use of my optical faculties.) I tend not to watch longer internetty videos at home either, because I usually have better things to do (films etc. is a tad different); and besides, it’s work. And the other side of the coin is that if I were a PI I’d probably have a complete benny if my post-docs were sitting round watching telly when they should be winning me a Nobel Prize.
So how do the rest of you feel about science-type videos and podcasts? What do you listen to or watch if you do? Is there room in the busy scientist’s schedule for either or both of these?
Part two of the question very much depends on the answer to this one, so I’ll ask it later.