Because social networking has to be good for something: Ouroboros group on Facebook

One of my favorite aspects of blogging is the contact it affords with the biogerontology community. Many readers have reached out, sometimes to say hello and other times to engage in discussions — sometimes of scholarly topics, and other times regarding professional considerations like how to look for a postdoc.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to share the contents of those interactions with the community at large; one consequence of this is that I end up having similar conversations with multiple people who might benefit from interacting more directly with each other. Thanks to some relatively recent conversations with readers (you know who you are, and I thank you), it occurred to me that social networking tools — despite their faults — might allow for a more efficient (and democratic) sharing of ideas, and maybe even create a repository of good advice and “stored thought” to which new community members might refer.

The first step I’m taking in this direction is to initiate a group on Facebook, the social networking system that I use most often. The group is named after the site (Ouroboros: Research in the biology of aging), and is open to anyone with a Facebook account. You can join the group without “friending” me (which I would prefer. One thing I don’t like about Facebook is that it only acknowledges one kind of connection, “friend.” I’m trying to keep my friend list limited to people I actually know, but this group allows for a different kind of connection. Even better, the group is many-to-many rather than one-to-many, i.e., everyone in the group is equally well connected to each other). I just created it, with a few discussion topics (“What are you up to?” and “Hot topics“), and I’m eager to see how the community responds.

The idea here is to create a place where readers of this site can get together and discuss matters of interest to the current (and future) biologists of aging. If you’re interested in kicking around ideas, making connections with other biogerontologists, or simply learning more, please join.

P.S.: I’m probably going to branch out in other social-networking directions; the Nature Network will probably be next, just as soon as I figure out how it works.


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