For Toronto scientists and lovers of all things science: You may have heard about Nature Network. It’s a social network for scientists (or “the Facebook for scientists”, if you want to put it that way.) You can have a profile with your research interests, and connect with people you (want to) know. There are various groups to talk about all kinds of things related to science. I’ve used it to ask questions that nobody around me could answer at the time: how do I design RT-PCR primers for a one-exon gene, and what is the current status of Perl vs. Python in Bioinformatics. Specific questions, but I had useful and fast replies on Nature Network. And if you don’t want to ask work-related questions, there is also ample opportunity to just babble about anything if you so please.
So why am I bringing this up now? Nature Network currently uses local hubs, to make the site more relevant for people in your area (just like how Facebook lets you join a city or school network). The hubs are London and Boston. That’s right. The rest of the world is lumped into “Global”, and only London and Boston get to have a page listing current events in their city. I can easily see that there’s an exhibition about chocolate at the Natural History Museum in London, and a lecture on using synthetic biology to fight malaria at Harvard. All very interesting, but how does that help those who live elsewhere? Obviously, the NN people are working on changing this, and to find out which cities need their own hubs, they are now letting people associate with a geographic region on their profile page. The more people join a certain city, the more likely it is to become a real Nature Network hub.
Obviously Toronto should be on the list. And Nature sort of knows this, because they recently published an article on the explosive growth of research in Toronto. Still, only six people have actually joined the (putative) Toronto hub on Nature Network. Where is everyone? Show them that the scientists and science fans of Toronto are not just hiding in their labs, but are interested in connecting with the rest of the local scientific community!
Here is an explanation of how to join a hub if you’re already a Nature Network member.
If you’re not yet a member, sign up first and you can set the city when you join. Like anything else on the web, you can give them as much or as little info as you like, but please at least join the Toronto hub so that it can become a real hub one day, and we’ll get recent job openings, upcoming seminars, and other events in Toronto all conveniently listed on one page.
(Feel free to forward this to your Toronto-based colleagues.)