Devin Bloom is not your typical Facebook user. The Ph.D. candidate in evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) only posts sporadically to the site, and he wouldn't even have a personal Facebook page if his little sister hadn't secretly set one up for him. But recently, while on a scientific expedition to the remote jungles of Guyana, Bloom helped illuminate a powerful new use for the social networking tool. As a result, technology-averse biologists around the world may soon be flocking to the site.
The National Museum of Natural History's blog ran a story on the team's novel use of social networking to crowdsource their data. Then the Smithsonian Institution's blog, Smithsonian Science, and Smithsonian magazine's blog did the same. Not long after that, employees at Facebook caught wind of the story and chose it as a "Facebook Story of the Week" on the company's page. In less than a few weeks, more than 9,000 people had "liked" the story, and more than 2,500 comments were registered.