The Neel Lecture — Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of May 12, 2014)

In the HOTW posts (Hashtag of the Week) we usually collect a bunch of tweets to illustrate topics or concepts. There are a few posts that mention Twitter tools, but not a lot. Today I’d like to talk about Storify, and am using the opportunity of having this morning livetweeted the James Neel Lecture by Richard P. Lifton. Livetweeting means to tweet about something while it is going on in real time.

To prepare for livetweeting I open web pages for the event, the speaker, and some of their articles. I make sure there is a good hashtag that isn’t likely to be misunderstood as being for something else. I check to see if it is possible to create an automatic archive of the event tweets. I also usually ask permission, if there is a chance. If there is not a chance to ask, the assumption is that events open to the public are permissible to tweet. (NOTE: If you are organizing an event, remind speakers to tell folk if and when they do NOT want things they say to be tweeted!) In this case, Dr. Lifton granted permission, with the caveat of excluding the portion of the presentation on current unpublished research. When he got to that part, he said, “Please don’t tweet this slide.” It works.

After the event finished, I was able to push all the tweets into a tool called Storify to create a kind of ‘story’ for the event. The tweet at the beginning of this post gives a link to the Storify for this event. While a Storify can be embedded in a web page, just like Youtube videos and tweets, it isn’t something that fits well in this blog, so I encourage you to go look at it there.

As you look at the Storify, you’ll notice that, as is usual with the blogged tweets, the individual tweets will show photos or certain other kinds of content. You may notice other content in addition to the tweets! There are pictures and links included, and even readable scrollable copies of entire article PDFs! Being a really academic presentation, this one was studded with research articles. Some of them are articles referenced by Dr. Lifton in his presentation, but others are simply articles on topics he mentioned. Don’t blame him for any errors in transmission – that would be my doing, probably misunderstanding something he said, since I’m not a geneticist. I hope that the overview this provides of the lecture might be useful to those who were unable to attend in person.

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