New Media and Astronomy

I notice that Aaron Price (Slacker Astronomy) has just published another paper in Astronomy Education Review where he reviews (appropriately enough given the journal) the use of new media in communicating astronomy.

The main section starts with a list of astronomy blogs which I think is severely lacking in those by amateur astronomers (of which there are many excellent examples). I know that Aaron has experience of amateur astronomy so I was a bit surprised by that omission. He does remark that there is a striking absence of blogs by institutions (observatories/astrophysics institutes) but I'm not totally surprised by this. After all, very few non-astronomy institutions have blogs either. It somehow doesn't seem natural for an institution to be informal and blog. Plus, they can't say what they had for breakfast or what their cat is up to.

The next section in the paper is about podcasting. Aaron states that "most astronomical podcasts lack personality and are basically Web pages and blogs read into microphones". A bit harsh perhaps, but may explain the decrease in the number of Slackerpedia Galactica episodes (a new one just out). His advice is that video is the future. This may very well be true although I still think there is a place for radio (such as while driving!).

The rest of the article covers the advantages of social networking sites such as MySpace and LiveJournal, and the use of Second Life. I must admit that although the International Spaceflight Museum is great, I have lost interest in Second Life. That may be because I don't get enough of my real one though! Anyway, an interesting read and I wonder what he would make of pointless twittering.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Thursday 10th May 2007 (23:14 BST) | Permalink
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