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An Update on the AAS LinkedIn Group

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 20:51

The number of social-media sites and services seems to be expanding ever faster, just like the universe. But if you want to connect with others who work in the astronomical sciences, to discuss ideas and opinions relevant to your career, there are only a relative handful of online watering holes where the signal-to-noise ratio is sufficiently high to make it worth your while to visit regularly. Among these are the Astronomers Facebook group and the AstroBetter blog, both of which are frequented by AAS members but were not created by, and are not moderated by, the AAS Executive Office.

Another popular social-media hub for AAS members has been the American Astronomical Society LinkedIn group. Unlike the Astronomers Facebook group, which admits only professionals working in the astronomical sciences, the AAS LinkedIn group has been open to anyone on LinkedIn, a popular networking site claiming some 300 million members worldwide. Like the Astronomers Facebook group, though, the AAS LinkedIn group was not created by, and has not been moderated by, the AAS Executive Office. Predictably, the discussions taking place within the group have sometimes been hijacked by (usually) well-intentioned but (often) ill-informed nonscientists with axes to grind.

I am pleased to report that this shouldn’t be a problem anymore. We are now managing the AAS LinkedIn group from the AAS Executive Office and have already changed its settings to give us more control over who can join and what they can do. The group is no longer open to all comers; we will approve requests to join from members of the AAS and its six topical divisions as well as from anyone else we recognize as members of our extended professional community. Whereas it used to take an inordinate number of complaints to flag a post or comment as inappropriate, it now takes only two, so problems will be identified and addressed quickly. (In the past they weren’t addressed at all, as nobody was actively monitoring/moderating the group.) Anyone repeatedly making off-topic or otherwise inappropriate posts or comments will be removed from the group. These changes should make the AAS LinkedIn group a comfortable and helpful place in which to engage in discussion and networking among professionals in the astronomical sciences.

In case you weren’t aware of it, the AAS Executive Office maintains an AAS Facebook page and posts announcements on Twitter via our AAS_Office, AAS_Meetings, AAS_Press, and AAS_Policy handles. We’ll be looking at ways to better integrate social media into our member communications, but in the meantime we invite you to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

See you online!

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer & Director of Communications
American Astronomical Society
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