One of the benefits of blogging, I’ve discovered, it that creates opportunities for exchange (this is a social medium after all, right?) In addition to information-and-idea-swapping-and-sharing, the swapping or sharing of STUFF can also sometimes be facilitated.
Take, for instance, the shiny, shiny package of shininess that I received in the mail today, all the way from Spain. It contained these:
Lovely little ethanol-filled vials with Carabids (ground beetles) and Buprestids (jewel beetles) collected this summer in Texas, Kansas and Missourri. A PhD student working in Spain sent these to me, as a gesture of thanks.
Back in February, I received an email about the Calligrapha sp. leaf beetles I’d photographed – this student was looking for specimens from North America to contribute to his systematics study on the genus. I agreed to keep an eye out for them, and one day in May I hit the jackpot, finding about 10 specimens. I watched for more all summer but never saw another – even though there were signs of feeding on the dogwood they so love to munch.
Long story short: a fellow grad student got specimens that will hopefully help his research. He, in turn, sent me these beetles he’d collected while visiting the US. He may feel differently, but I think I got the sweeter end of this deal.
Behold, a teaser of the beautimoniousness that is now my Precious:
More pics to come once it’s finished drying. This guy (and probably the others, I haven’t even really looked at them yet) is going on the List of Things That Make Me Gleeful.
The main point of this post is actually not pretty beetles (srsly). What I want to highlight here is that social media can be an incredibly useful tool for scientists wanting to collaborate.
And I’m not even referring to capital-“C” “Collaboration”, as in, where stuff gets written down and terms and funding are agreed upon, etc. etc. I’m simply talking about helping out, and getting help from, other folks. You know, because it’s a Good Thing To Do.
In my experience, it’s a great way to find like-minded science-y people (i.e., ones interested in exchange, sharing, and collaboration) with similar research interests. Secondly, the general public likes to be involved in, and contribute to, science. Putting yourself and your research out there on blogs, Twitter, G+, Facebook, etc., can open doors to both professional and public interest and engagement. I am pretty convinced that it’s well worth the effort…