Plantae may seem like just another social network, but it is designed to be a much more complex community.
I’ve noticed some fatigue lately with Twitter and other public social media sites. Part of the reason may be that there’s a sense of needing more private spaces. There is also a need for more focused networks of similarly-interested people. A desire for networks with less noise and more signal. A better sense of belonging to a community/group.
There is value in broad social networks such as serendipitous discoveries, networking opportunities beyond a specific field, and cross-pollination of ideas. Plantae, like plants themselves, is designed not to be walled off, but to be semi-permeable and sensitive to both inside and outside influences.
Plantae is designed to foster the community (& communities within the larger community– kept private if you’d like) of plant scientists. It’s about connecting and organically growing an inclusive network of plant scientists. Building the Plantae community will amplify our connections with fellow plant scientists, our ideas, and our voices. From Plantae, reaching out to the world beyond plant biology will be made easier. Plantae can be a repositroy to supply plant science to other spaces online and off.
The membership of ASPB is comprised of a diverse group of people with many backgrounds, interests, and specialties dedicated to advancing plant science. It might be analogized to the network of specialized cells that make up parts of a plant: Root cell layers, vascular tissues, palisade cells, guard cells etc.
The Plantae platform is a positive feedback loop. The more the plant science community populates it, the healthier and bigger the plant we can grow. With Plantae, sharing resources, documents, data, and finding plant scientists will be easier. There’s also an analogy to be made to the complex networks that plants form with one another and other organisms.
If you’re not already, consider becoming an APSB member through Plantae (you can also sign up without becoming a member), filling out your profile, and start populating Plantae communities with content, discussions, and resources. The success of ASPB, and by extension, Plantae, is all about the membership. I’m a member of the science communicators group on Plantae, for instance. If that is amongst your interests, come join the group and we can share and discuss ways to better communicate plant science. Or create your own community based around a lab group, subfield, or a group of people you think are interesting. The sky is the limit. Like the plants we study, let’s reach for the sun.