Social media in science has become more and more popular, for good reason. It provides a space to share and connect with other people across the world. This is doubly true at conferences! While I have my own opinions, I decided to asked my followers their thoughts about why social media is important at meetings. Three repeating themes came up in their answers: 

1. The ability to follow conferences you cannot attend. The location of Plant Biology moves every year. As it moves about the continent, it may be inaccessible to researchers who wish to attend due a variety of reasons. By using the official hashtag across social media platforms you can share what you are learning in real time with other researchers. Now keep in mind as you live tweet that most conferences have a social media policy. ASPB's social media policy is here.

2. Networking. There are hundreds and hundreds of plant biologists running around ASPB's annual meeting. Social media is a fabulous ice breaker. "Hey I know you on Twitter/Instagram/etc!" is a legitimate greeting. You can set up meeting times, ask for advice on where to eat, find people to hang out with after the meeting ends for the day, make connections that carry beyond the meeting, and more. 

3. Be able to keep up with multiple concurrent events. Concurrent sessions, different lunch options, evening activities, there is a lot going on at the same time. With social media, it's almost as if you can be in multiple places at once! You can follow the hashtag to read what other people are learning. You can contribute to the hashtag so that other people can read what you are learning. 

My Twitter handle is @OshnGirl, please follow me! If you don't have Twitter, sign up and follow me! I have a list of those attending plant biology 19 started to make it easier to keep track of who is present: https://twitter.com/OshnGirl/l... When you're there, find me and use my favorite icebreaker "Hey I know you from Twitter!" :D