Oh my! I've been following the tweets of fellow scientist and science communicators attending the The Science of Science Communication program hosted by the National Academies of Sciences in Washington, DC. And a session on Science and Politics: Forum of Presidential Science Advisors that included Directors of the Office of Science and Technology Policy that go back to 1977 somehow got an entire conversation on Twitter ablaze.

John Holden, the current advisor to the President said that science needs to do a better job of telling stories. And I couldn't agree more...but what exactly does this mean? Several of us hashed it out, and I think the topic is ripe for further discussion. I personally think storytelling is very effective for reaching broader audiences - the general public, diverse demographics, and even our students at the undergraduate level. Furthermore, I think the Indigenous Ways of Knowing (IWOK) and the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) traditions, which are very strong on story-telling, have much to offer to the western-approach of science and science communication.

Here's a storify of the tweets on Anecdotes, Stories & Science Communication from the Program.

Anecdotes, Stories and Science Communication

The Science of Science Communication presented by the National Academies of ScienceMay 21-22, 2012Washington, DCTweets inspired by the Science and Politics: Forum of Presidential Science Advisors sessionHashtags: #scicomm #sackler

Storified by DNLee · Tue, May 22 2012 12:33:17

You have to get better at telling stories, connecting to people's lives, not generalities. #sackler #scicommDuke IGSP
Need stories that are both simple and correct. #sackler #scicommDuke IGSP
Holdren tells science groups if you want to improve #scicomm you must get better at telling stories - keep them simple & accurate #sacklerWestatHC
RT @kTraphagen: Story telling key to making science relevant to people's lives #sackleryourqueerprof
I am endlessly interested in how we tell better science stories w/o falling prey to cult of anecdote or just-so stories #sacklerLizNeeley
+1 MT @LizNeeley: I am interested in how we tell better science stories w/o falling prey to cult of anecdote or just-so stories #sacklerKaryn Traphagen
@kTraphagen @LizNeeley I'm against just-so stories, but meaningful anecdotes are powerful tool in #scicomm think #TEK #sacklerDNLee
Where is the dividing line between 'communicating by telling stories' and using anecdote to communicate science? paradox? #sackler #scicommStacy RebichHespanha
I don't see what's wrong with story telling or anecdotes to communicate science. It's how most people communicate info #sackler #scicommDNLee
@DNLee5 agree. Integrity/credibility of a science storyteller is if there is evidence to support the story you tell. #sackler #scicommAlby Luchko
@StacyRHespanha Many examples they're using as "stories" are NOT stories; they're concrete and vivid examples. Not the same thing. #sacklerZen Faulkes
@DoctorZen agreed! so how to encourage storytelling as a comm strategy without unintentionally encouraging use of anecdote? #sacklerStacy RebichHespanha
@StacyRHespanha @DoctorZen this is a good discussion to continue… storytelling vs misuse of anecdotes #sacklerKaryn Traphagen
@DoctorZen @StacyRHespanha but they are both examples of storytelling, not just dry data dumping. #sacklerAlby Luchko
maybe we should get on the same page. Define story? & why is it necessarily not a good thing in science? #scicomm #sacklerDNLee
don't forget that anecdotes (aka observations) are the foundations of scientific experiments. perhaps reframing is needed #sackler #scicommDNLee
"Is anecdote a dirty word?" Loving the sci comms #sackler conversation this morning and thanks to @DNLee5 for storifying.LizNeeley
@StacyRHespanha if "anecdote" means "no data to support", than difference is having supporting data (even if not given upfront) 1/2 #sacklerAlby Luchko
@StacyRHespanha storytelling is a means of grabbing attention and interest, not exhaustive detail. 2/2 #sacklerAlby Luchko