My Week with @BoraZ

March 12, 2012

Torah Kachur

Last week the University of Alberta Faculty of Education hosted Bora Zivkovic - Senior Editor of Scientific American blogs, tweeter extraordinaire and advocate of Open Access journals.


With talks as varied as "The changing nature of scientific literacy online" and a storytelling night complete with drinks and a band, Bora demonstrated his love of everything twitter and everything online.  His overarching message was simple: communicating on the web is the true democracy - everyone has an equal voice and it is a true forum.  Communication has changed from media overlords dictating what messages are broadcast when and to whom to online media where anything can be said and everything will (eventually) be read.  The only problem with communicating on the web is that, in Bora's words, "99% of what is online is crap".  Except when it comes to "A Blog Around the Clock" which is awesome and also Bora's blog (but I'm not biased).


Twitter also features prominently in Bora's world, with over 12,000 followers (@BoraZ) he's got some serious influence (it's science people, 12,000 is a lot - stop trying to compare him to the Biebs).  He's also following almost 8,000 people (me (@DrTorahKachur) and Science in Seconds (@scienceinsecnds) included) which means a serious amount of tweeting about food, the Biebs and Kony.  But he manages to follow it all, learn and read more than I thought was humanly possible and still bounce around and laugh like a 7 year old.  The man has some killer energy - bottle that up and we could sell it to NASA to power the next shuttle launch.


The fact is that the web has changed how science is done - and Bora is evidence of that.  From bloggers being way more than just men in pyjamas in their parents basement to full lab books being completed open and online for the whole world to watch.  The 21st century will be driven by bloggers being the peer reviewers, open access dominating publishing houses and science being done for all the public to follow and learn.


We, the bloggers, are the nerds behind the paradigm shift in the pursuit of science.  Bora will continue to advocate for more Open Access journals so that the public can engage in science and it will become more accessible to everyone.  And we, at Science in Seconds will continue to be geeky and super sarcastic.


This entire time I spent with Bora laughing at jokes only a scientist could love and discussing every topic under the sun, his brother Marco - a cultural anthropologist who is studying scientist culture - was sitting there....studying us....making us his guinea pigs....and occassionally throwing out a comment about just how different the dorks of the world really are.


And of course:  #IhuggedBora



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