A blogging colleague is trying to decide whether to continue to “resist” twittering, and a bunch of mopes are trying to talk him into “embracing” it. One of their stupid rationalizations is that twitter is a great way to access the scientific literature and that it is really good for fostering actual science. What a fucken sad joke.
As far as, “twitter helps me stay abreast of SCIENZ”, this is ridiculous. I stay abreast of science by being part of a community of scientists who share information with one another in a selected directed fashion (and by reading the tables of contents of a relatively small number of journals). I have e-mail and voice discussions with people on a daily basis about important new science. I visit other institutions and attend conferences to deliver seminars and meet with people several times per month. I know about new important shit before it even gets published. If I don’t know about something, and it ends up published in some shitball journal I’ve never even heard of, then it is certain to be scientifically irrelevant.
This whole idea that we need MOAR INFORMATIONZ, and that in the onslaught of a massive flood of information floating around on the Internet we need SOCIAL TOOLZ to filter that information is a fucken joke. What we need is LESS INFORMATIONZ; the flood is just a distraction and a waste of time. And the proliferation of more and more and more journals publishing more and more trivial garbage is something to rue, not celebrate.
Gibberish like twitter has *zero* effect on the conduct of actual meaningful science and the flow of information among actual scientists publishing their work in reputable journals. I need to know about some article published in some fucken journal I’ve never heard of like I need another fucken whole in my head. Twitter may be great for amateur science enthusiasts to get each other all excited about some new science coming down the road, but for real scientists doing the actual work, it is a complete waste of time.