At the recent International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry conference (ISMSC8) there was a distinct lack of interactions through social media.
Whilst coffee breaks and poster sessions were full of interesting chats and discussions, the internet was almost completely ignored by the attendees. The ISMSC website encouraged the use of the hashtag #ISMSC before the conference began. But in the book of abstracts and throughout the conference there was no mention at all of Twitter, I was disappointed.
There were a couple tweets in the build up before the conference, giving hope of a social (media) bunch of people.
On my way to #ismsc ! I will present the last development of the peptide synthesising molecular machine. See you there.
— Guillaume De Bo (@GuillaumeDebo) July 6, 2013
But during the conference I found myself a little lonely with only Ivan Aprahamian and Guillaume De Bo really contributing. Ivan summed up the twitter experience calling the crowd "technologically challenged".
300+ plus chemists at #ismsc and only ~10 tweets
— Ivan Aprahamian (@aprahamian) July 10, 2013
With sponsorship from Nature Chemistry and the National Science Foundation, both pretty big in Twitterland, you might have expected some input from them. But alas no, it was left to Chem Comm to join us at the end to publicise the poster prize they were sponsoring.
Big congratulations to Brandon Hirsch (Indiana) winner of @ChemCommun grand poster prize - he won a future front cover of ChemComm! #ISMSC
— ChemComm (@ChemCommun) July 11, 2013
Another chemistry conference, ISACS11 is taking place this week with around 50 tweets just from yesterday, although mostly dominated by one Chemistry World journalist. Whilst this is not a huge amount it is still much better than at ISMSC8. Derek Lowe is also present and so he's busy blogging through some of the talks.
But what is going on here? Is it just a generation difference and the young folks need to step up or are some conferences missing a trick? Get the discussions going over some coffee sure, but continue it and spread it further on the internet.