Life Sciences Turning to YouTube- Web2.0 gaining momentum among scientists

I am an ardent follower of all things web2.0 the fact that I have more than 10000 bookmarks catagorized and formatted -big thanks to social bookmarking websites. So its exciting to see more scientists start using web2.0 products such as youtube, google video, social bookmarking sites like furl, stumbleupon , netvouz, del-ic-ious and blogs and wikipedia. The BioIt magazine has published the following article on the trend

Salvatore Salamone January 25, 2007 | Life scientists are eagerly taking advantage of a variety of next-generation “Web 2.0” Internet features to learn, collaborate, and interact more easily.

Wikipedia, for example, has demonstrated how online collaboration can quickly gather a vast amount of information from subject matter experts. Noting Wikipedia’s success, some companies are setting up internal wikis for researchers to share their insights and knowledge. Blogging and specialized social networking sites are also gaining ground among life scientists.

What might not be so obvious is the role another Web 2.0 site – YouTube — is already playing in the life sciences. YouTube allows people to post and easily share videos. Some of the user-generated content is very professional, much of it is appallingly amateurish.

Life science educators, researchers, and even vendors are using the site for a variety of purposes. Some educators have produced short videos illustrating or explaining different scientific concepts. These include molecular visualizations of DNA wrapping and DNA transcription, as well as National Human Genome Research Institute Director Francis Collins talking about advances in personal genomics.

Some researchers have produced short videos that show others how to do certain lab or computer analysis procedures. Examples of these videos includes this demo from the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Most of these videos are short (1-2 minutes) and, at best, illustrate a simple point. But they do give you an idea about the potential ways such videos might be used in the future. For instance, a new lab technique could be videotaped, posted to YouTube (or a similar site), and a link sent to all researchers who could then view the procedure whenever they needed to learn the methodology.

Some of the slickest YouTube videos, in general and specifically in the life sciences, come from vendors, which are jumping on the highly touted trend of viral marketing trend — the idea that people who view these videos will pass them (or links to them) along to friends. The power of this word-of-mouth marketing was evidenced last November when BBC News reported that a video featuring the so-called Star Wars Kid was viewed 900 million times — more viewers than any TV show or event in history. (In contrast, the highest rated program of all time, the last episode of Mash, had 105 million viewers.)

Vendors in all fields are eager to capitalize on this viral marketing phenomenon. And the life science vendors on YouTube seem to have quickly learned the key to getting their videos passed along. That key: The funnier or more creative the spot, the better, according to a recent article in Inc. Magazine.

For example, a YouTube video called The DNA-ting Game, which is a takeoff on the old Dating Game show complete with campy 70s style décor, humorously plugs the power and benefits of the Caliper Life Sciences LabChip 90 Automated Electrophoresis System.

Similarly, a series of Agilent videos show how a cocky researcher is able to quickly complete experiments using the company’s 2100 Bioanalyzer or its Total RNA Isolation Mini Kit. (Examples of these videos can be found here and here.)

All of these efforts – including those from the educators, researchers, and vendors – are the work of early adopters of the newer technologies incorporated into a site such as YouTube. And all of the examples give a glimpse of the potential use researchers and life science organizations can get out of this technology to quickly produce instructional and training videos that can then easily be shared with colleagues.

Email Salvatore Salamone.

Subscribe to Bio-IT World magazine.

3 Responses

  1. Hi, wonderful to hear that the potential of digital technologies is being exploited by more and more researchers.

    I’m from an organisation called the Research Information Network – we do projects with an ultimate aim of establishing a UK framework for research information provision.

    You might be interested in a recent report we did on what discovery tools researchers use to find information relevant to their work. We found that web2-type tools aren’t yet a significant blip on their radar, but researchers look on them with promise for the future. The report’s here:

    Anyhow, good luck with the blog.
    All best

  2. […] Next Generation of DNA and RNA Microarrays brings hopes of personalized medicineJames Brown on Life Sciences Turning to YouTube- Web2.0 gaining momentum among scientists NYIT Discovery of Next Generation Microarrays promise personalized Medicine « […]

  3. Peace people

    We love you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: