AGBT policy on blogging/twittering.

My frustration with AGBT is mounting a bit, but it’s not the blogging policy itself that is annoying me.   I’m really happy with the wording of the policy, albeit the execution was a bit rough around the edges.  Instead, it’s the people who are choosing not to allow their talks to be blogged or tweeted, for what appears to be no obvious reason.

Frankly, if you’re going to show unpublished data, or are presenting someone else’s talk, then that’s great.  I’m happy to keep my notes private – I’m all about sharing data and open source code and all of that, but I know where the limits are.

I just find it to be completely disrespectful to say “no blogging” when you’re presenting published work, or work that’s in press.  You don’t need to hide that data, but choosing the “no tweeting” option basically has a dual effect of stifling conversation and burying your data.  Tweeting is how many (mostly young) scientists communicate with their peers, and a forum by which your work can be advertised.

To me, banning twitter is like saying “You may not discuss this talk over beers”.  I fail to see the difference, except beers have a physical limit to the number of people who can participate in the conversation.

Of course, one might object to disseminating sensitive information, but the bloggers and tweeters are usually the ones with a high enough profile BECAUSE they’re the ones doing it with respect.  I’ve counted 4 people using phones and cameras to take pictures of posters, and 2 doing the same during talks.  Those people aren’t deterred at all by the no-tweeting policy, and it won’t stop them from taking those photos home and showing them to their colleagues.

Rather, those people who choose to discuss your work in the public – where they are accountable for their comments – are the ones you’re stopping.  In protest, I think the proper course is simple: If you can’t give me a good reason why I shouldn’t discuss your work in public, I just won’t discuss it in private either.  Problem solved.

5 thoughts on “AGBT policy on blogging/twittering.

  1. Well put. I think it is from ignorance of the way information is disseminated today that makes someone think that “don’t blog my talk” is acceptable. Hopefully they wise up quickly.

    Kudos to speakers like Steven Salzberg, “I’d be delighted if you tweet and blog whatever you’d like about my talk.”

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention AGBT policy on blogging/twittering. | --

  3. From my outside perspective it appears that this conference should have been marked as a private gathering rather than a public forum. With this simple change of emphasis I believe that everyone would understand what they are getting into: private = don’t tell anyone without my permission, public = the information is for everyone, anywhere.

    Additionally, it sounds like it is increasingly important to have a discussion to layout the ground rules for blogging/tweeting at these events. In this manner, participants (attendees and presenters) at future conferences (CSHL, x-gen, bioit, agbt, etc.) know what to expect.

    Great work so far on walking the line between respecting the presenter’s wishes and emphasizing your discontent.


    • Thanks for the comment – yes, it would have been nice to know about the policy before seeing at the first talk, but it has been pointed out that this is the first time the conference has had a stance on blogging/tweeting – and there will be growing pains. I doubt this will be the last time it comes up, or that anything done here will settle this issue, which is not trivial.

      I will do my best to respect the wishes of the presenters, but I really do wish they would be given the opportunity to provide a more granula lackout, eg, not to blog the un-pushished part of the talk, or maybe just not to blog anything on 5 slides, or something of that nature.

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