The social trifecta

By Daniel Holz | May 3, 2010 9:16 pm

twitterI’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.

facebookHowever, 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). you tubeThe 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.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Internet, Technology
  • Angus McPresley

    Well, one person’s “timesuck” is another person’s “life”. No one wants to CONSTANTLY be interacting with other humans, but I don’t consider such interactions a waste of time; far from it.

    I missed that video when you first posted it, though I’ve seen the black-and-white version before. I almost wept the first time I saw it. For some reason I remember being told early on that there was too much dust towards the center of the galaxy for us to ever observe it from Earth, so I would fantasize about a far, far, FAR distant time when we could actually visit and see what’s going on there for the first time. Little did I know I’d get to see it in my lifetime! Beyond extraordinary.

  • SU(N) is FU(N)

    Cool. You could update the tags, if you actively want random people to find your video, while they are looking for the song supermassive black hole from muse ;)

  • gazzaj

    Just don’t read the YouTube comments..

  • http://rationaldreaming.com Dreamer

    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). you tubeThe 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.

    The secret of the popularity of that video, and the others created using the data collected on the orbits of the stars at the very center of the Milky Way, is the sheer dynamism on display. For all the wonders in the night sky revealed by our huge array of telescopes, almost everything we see appears to be frozen in time to our eyes.

    Sure the motions of the planets, comets, and asteroids can fascinate but beyond the bounds of our own solar system, everything except the odd flare of a nova or supernova happens so slowly that a lifetime can pass before we notice the changes.

    Of course, tossing in the fact that there’s a black hole in there somewhere doesn’t hurt either. :)

  • Jim

    r.e. #4. I agree! Once one realizes these are hugely massive stars zipping around in small orbits you really see that gravity works, as advertised!!

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