The Sassy Scientist – Sharing Secrets

The Sassy Scientist – Sharing Secrets

During the umpteenth conference call this week, it is finally time for Carrie to share her screen. So, naturally, she asks:

Where is the share screen button?

Dear Carrie,

I am not sure how to break this to you. Indeed, I am not sure if I should be the person telling you this. However, since you ask, I feel obliged to divulge this secret to you. Just promise me you will not tell anyone. Okay? Do I have your word? Are you sure? Very well, then.

*glances suspiciously left and right*

*whisper* There is no share screen button *whisper*

I realise this must come as a shock to you, but the truth of the matter is this: there simply is no share screen button. You must know that academia is riddled with ancient traditions being upheld purely for the sake of tradition. Sharing your screen during a conference call is one of these sacred traditions. It is really rather simple: the presenter pretends to search for the share screen button (knowing full well that there is no such thing). This then provides the cue for the other participants of the conference call that the tradition has started. When the presenter innocently asks ‘Can you see my screen now?’, custom dictates that participants agree after anything between the first or fourth time this is asked. Sometimes, if you really want to play your part, you could even mention that you can see their mouse, so that they can use it as a pointer. During the presentation, you are required to agree with everything the presenter says you are seeing on their screen (while, of course, you are staring at the presenter aimlessly talking into the void). At the end of the presentation, the presenter might cue the end of the tradition by asking how they can stop sharing their screen. Note that this ritual is not always upheld though! Sometimes the ‘share screen’ tradition will just fizzle out and be forgotten by everyone in the call, resulting in never formally ending the sharing of the screen. A key point of the tradition is that nobody acknowledges that everyone is merely playing their part. For the sake of scientific knowledge transfer, it is important to pretend you can share and see screens during a video call. I do hope that the explanation of this tradition provides some solid pointers on the conference call etiquette you really need to get under your belt at the present, trying times. At the very least you now know where to find the share screen button.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written in the time it takes to find the share screen button.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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