The Younger Chemists Committee (YCC), a committee of the American Chemical Society, has put together a Web site that not only brings together their organization, but provides advice, help, and support to their fellow younger chemists.
Like most organizational Web sites, the YCC Web site contains information about the organization, a list of its publications, programs, links to Web resources, and more. But perhaps the most unique feature of the YCC Web site is e-YCC.
e-YCC is the electronic network of the Younger Chemists Committee and provides a sort of virtual glue to bring these young scientists together 365 days a year.
There are four parts to e-YCC: One-on-One, YCC Forums, the Message Board, and the YCC Bulletin Board.
One-on-One is YCC's virtual mentoring service. Right now there are five mentors: three graduate students, an industrial chemist, and a high school teacher. Mentors have their bios up on the site and are available to answer questions online. There aren't a lot of posts in the discussion but that may be because they aren't well publicized, which is a shame because these folks seem ready and willing to answer questions.
YCC Forums is a section with opinion pieces on different topics. Right now there are four topics: Pressures and Stresses of Graduate School, Toward an Improved Postdoc, Degree Bias, and Graduate Student Benefits. The topics in this section are definitely hot, the only problem is that you don't really get a feel for how often they change. None of the opinion pieces have a publication date on them. Each opinion piece is linked to an online discussion so that readers can express their thoughts on the issues raised. But again, there are few participants.
As you move through the site, if you don't like the topics discussed in the Forum then the Message Board is another neat feature. Users can add the topic of their choosing. Unfortunately, people aren't really using this either. (Hint, Hint--check this out.)
Finally, last but not least, there's the YCC Bulletin Board where people can post meeting announcements and other events of interest to the community. That seems to be getting some use.
Overall the YCC site is a good one, with a good concept. For other societies with groups of young scientists who want to develop an online community, this is an excellent model. The trick is--how do you get people to use it? Check out their site and if you have any ideas for them--drop them a note.