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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Google+ at ScienceOnline

In my last post, I introduced the new Geoscience Community on Google+.  Here, I'd like to point folks to a recent talk by Fraser Cain about Google+ at the ScienceOnline Conference.  +Fraser Cain is an astronomy enthusiast, blogger, publisher of Universe Today, and almost any scientist who's been involved with Google+ over the past year & a half is probably familiar with his name.  If anyone has taken science on G+ into awesome mode, it's him.  He's done some really cool things with G+ and astronomy, such as hosting hangouts as Virtual Star Parties, getting people from all over to stream the views through their telescopes over the web.  He & others who've joined him have given more people the opportunity to see something amazing in the night sky live through a telescope than anyone else in the world.  Tens of thousands have viewed the Hangouts he's hosted.  He has been so successful that Google decided a while back to make a short documentary/advertisement about what the way they use the technology.  And this past year was full of fantastic events, from the transit of Venus to Curiosity landing on Mars and others.  

The video for his talk includes others as well; he begins to speak about 12 minutes in, and lasts until ~33 minutes.  If you are interested in science & social media, it is well worth taking a look at, especially if you've not used G+ before.  What he's accomplished in the past year & a half with this new technology is pretty special.  

I would love to see what could come of geosocial activity through G+.  It is still very much in the beginning stages.  There are a few geos who are using G+ regularly, but there's so much room for so many more, especially those who've not yet connected with fellow professionals.  The Geoscience Community has drawn in some new folks this past week, which is excellent, and they've made some great contributions.  One feature that geoscientists aren't using much yet are the hangouts.  We've used them some in the past, driven largely by +Ron Schott 's geology office hours, but they've not yet really caught on.  I'd love to see geos use them as effectively for Earth Science as Fraser has for Space.  Geoscience is right at the heart of many of the major problems facing the world today; capturing people's imagination shouldn't be an issue when you've got volcanoes & earthquakes & velociraptors on your team.  That could be really fun.