Introducing The Life Science Twitter Chat: Improving Communication Between Researchers and Companies

Comprendia’s mission is to improve communication in the life science industry, and a big part of this is opening up more of a dialog between companies and researchers. We think social media is a perfect venue for discussions, and are co-founding a biweekly life science chat on Twitter. Life scientists and company representatives can openly discuss issues important for advancing research through a better understanding of the challenges faced by each.

Many life science companies have a presence on Twitter, but we see them mostly as being in broadcast mode, simply tweeting about products and promotions and not engaging with scientists. We were approached by one life scientist on twitter who wanted us to connect them with a company as their efforts to engage with them regarding a large equipment purchase had not been fruitful. With an email, we were able to connect them, but the process would have been much easier if the company had been available and responsive on Twitter.

Life scientists have questions directly relating to existing products as well as ideas for new ones. Companies want to hear this information and ask questions about their performance and perception. A Twitter chat will bring the two sides together in an informal and trackable way, accepting discussion topics from all interested. We can also use the chat to help life scientists through the personal challenges many face during their PhD or postdoc, as most of us on the company side have been through similar struggles.

Angela Alexander (@thecancergeek) is one of our favorite life scientists. She’s a postdoc at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and she had the idea for the chat while we were talking on Twitter about our recent post about life science hashtags. This underlines another benefit to interacting with life scientists–they’re brilliant and creative! She is our co-founder and we’ll both be moderating the chats. She’s already thought of many discussion topics already.

The chat will take place alternating Wednesdays at 4 p.m. PT beginning September 14th, using the hashtag #ls_chat and led by the @ls_chat Twitter account. Following the lead of Andrew Spong’s fantastic post on how to start a tweet chat, we’ve also started a life science chat wiki. To participate, visit the wiki and sign the guestbook and submit and/or vote on discussion topics. Check out the calendar, then log into Twitter at the designated time, follow @ls_chat and the #ls_chat hashtag (a search column in Tweetdeck or Hootsuite works well) and join the discussion. We’ll provide summaries of the discussions afterward. Also, like our Facebook page for announcements and summaries. As always, contact us if you have a question or suggestion, and you can email the ls_chat team directly too.

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