This is a screenshot of the NASA press release today about astrobiology. It clearly depicts the direction [Science] outreach should go.
There was a time where only journalists would go to press releases, where only them could make questions. They were the interface between NASA and you. That time is gone. They are still needed and part of the equation, but you can also have access to the whole process, from planning to evaluation, including the ability to participate in the event.
The press release was announced to everyone, not only newspapers and agencies. You might still see the news coming from mass media channels but, now you also get from your Facebook friends or whoever you follow on Twitter.
There was a public broadcast video on NASA TV, available for free on Internet and also to TV channels around the world. You could even embed it into any webpage. Some added a chat alongside the video feed and let people comment.
I couldn’t find Facebook much of an added value during the event, but Twitter does create an added value through social media. On Twitter you decide who to listen to, not just everyone or only your friends.While I was watching the event, I kept an eye on my Twitter feed. Unlike Facebook, I only see those I chose to follow: science journalists, friends, colleagues, NASA itself, … They can also re-Tweet what they find interesting on their timelines, and you see that too, even if you don’t directly follow this 3rd person. In effect it becomes a personalized filter with only my tailored relevant information. In my case my virtual company included:
At that time, you could also search on Twitter for all tweets with the word ‘NASA’. But that will only show endless noise of people you don´t know saying things you most probably don’t care or just can’t evaluate on time.
At some point someone on the panel mentioned a report from the NRC about astrobiology. After just a minte or so, the NAS Press tweeted the link to that particular report, which offers a free pdf.
The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems - If you are watching #NASA conference, this is the book just held up: https://bit.ly/dJquWd— The Academies (@theNASEM) December 2, 2010
After the video feed finished, I could still see the conversation going on in Twitter, and people (the ones I follow) where sending the links they found interesting, or replying to questions from other people.
My point being. The information was made available to all of us, and the social media, tools like Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, … the web 2.0 in general, generated and collected the best from my social circle, filtering the sources that I chose to have. It made whole experience engaging and scientific, but it also felt social. That’s what people start to call ‘peopolize the news’.comments powered by Disqus