Technology

The social trifecta

Cosmic VarianceBy Daniel HolzMay 4, 2010 1:16 AM

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I've been dipping my toes in the new social regime. Of course, there's the blog. But I've recently been convinced to give Facebook a whirl, start up a YouTube channel, and have now even set up a Twitter account (after being personally convinced to do so by Ev). It is not that I'm afraid of technology, or don't see the point of all this stuff. It's simply that time is precious, and I'm hesitant to add any further potential timesucks to my life. I haven't heard anyone say that the Facebook/YouTube/Twitter trifecta actually makes one more efficient and productive.

However, in a recent blog post I included a video of stars orbiting the supermassive black hole at our galactic center (not Hollywood effects; this is real data, of real stars orbiting our neighborhood supermassive black hole).

The movie comes from Andrea Ghez's group at UCLA; I put it up on YouTube so I could trivially embed it in the post. Within 24 hours, the video had received over 50,000 views. I find this number staggering, and immensely encouraging. I love the idea that 50,000 people, from all walks of life and from across the globe, are brought together to watch a movie of stellar orbits around a black hole. It's increasingly apparent that these social media tools aren't just mindless fads. They represent something radically new and empowering. Although I'm still somewhat unclear as to how to harness their power for good.

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