Time to close some open tabs and clear out a few recent bookmarks of interest in the world of science, publishing and Web 2.0.

Social Media is Here to Stay… Now What?
Insightful essay on social networking from a researcher at Microsoft. Many interesting concepts herein, I particularly like her contrast of youth vs. adult behaviors on social networks. It once again points out that the recurrent meme that “once the kids who grew up on myspace reach adulthood, the whole world will work like myspace” is absurd. People change as they age, their behaviors change, and the things they want to do on social networking sites change (see Why Facebook Is For Old Fogies for some concrete examples) . Which is why all the “myspace for scientists” sites are so misguided. Scientists aren’t teenagers learning socialization skills (though a good many scientists could probably use additional training). They are professionals, with very different needs from other communities.
I also like her take home message:

“Specific genres of social media may come and go, but these underlying properties are here to stay. We won’t turn the clock back on these. Social network sites may end up being a fad from the first decade of the 21st century, but new forms of technology will continue to leverage social network as we go forward. If we get away from thinking about the specific technologies and focus on the properties and dynamics, we can see how change is unfolding before our eyes. One of the key challenges is learning how to adapt to an environment in which these properties and dynamics play a key role.”

What I’ve Learned from Hacker News
The editor of an online community news site writes on some of the lessons learned. Of particular interest is the “Fluff Principle”:

“…on a user-voted news site, the links that are easiest to judge will take over unless you take specific measures to prevent it.”

He goes on to discuss the valuable role that editors play in maintaining the quality of the material presented.

In Praise of the Sales Force

Along similar lines, Cory Doctorow’s latest column celebrates the things he gets from his publisher that can not be provided by going it alone on the internet. The first comment left on the article is something many would-be self-publishers fail to think about:

“I am always looking for good ways to talk to authors about why *not* to self-publish: the publishing industry exists for a reason – you don’t make better books and better money by “cutting out the middleman”, you just take all the work on yourself, and do it without their experience, expertise, or, as you write, distribution network. Let alone their budget.”

Typos and Value
Keeping with that theme, more on the value of editorial oversight.

“In the realm of communication, especially the communication of research years in the making, we need to spend time preserving signal and eliminating noise.”

Lines of communication
Nature Methods editorial pleading with scientists to start blogging. Could the subtext here be that they’ve spent an awful lot of money on the Nature Network and are disappointed to only have around 50 regular bloggers and no real uptake by the mainstream of scientists?

End of Free Access
Surprised this one didn’t receive more notice in the open-access-leaning science blogosphere. The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI), which went to free access for all articles in 1996 is now switching to a subscription-access only business model, as open access was not sustainable for their journal.

Visits to Gmail surpass YouTube
Another common meme as of late has been the “death of e-mail”, with pundits opining over the new technologies, Twitter, Seesmic, etc. Yet the numbers show consistent growth and heavy usage of e-mail. Google, always a company to watch for future trends, recently announced Google Voice, a way to move your phone and text messaging communication to e-mail. Perhaps the obituary of e-mail is a bit premature.

And we’ll close this set with a bit of humor:
A spectacular new e-book interface device can be seen here, a flow chart for deciding whether you should send all your friends that clever picture of a cat with a misspelled caption that you saw online is here, and a quick primer on who joins which social network is here.