Essential media literacy and wisdom for anyone engaged in the art of communication, which is practically everyone with a beating heart and firing neurons.
Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Art of the Soundbite
On August 28, the American Museum of Natural History hosted IFLS Live, a panel discussion on the wide, wild world of online science communication from I Fucking Love Science's Elise Andrew, io9's Annalee Newitz, Mitch and Greg from ASAPScience, Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop and Maria Popova of Brain Pickings (and still the most interesting person on the internet). I’m sure my invitation to the panel got lost in the mail :)
A surprise visitor showed up near the end: none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of AMNH’s Hayden Planetarium. Maria asked him how on Earth (or how on any other planet) he manages to craft such information-rich soundbites, polishing away the jagged edges of the science without dulling its shine. It’s a skill that Tyson has mastered perhaps better than any other living science communicator (incidentally, “science communicator” is a term I am growing to dislike, because it’s very clunky and weird).
Neil’s full answer is over at Brain Pickings in video form (I highly recommend checking it out in full), but this GIF by Maria captures the tasty essence quite well. I mean, isn’t the GIF really just the soundbite of images?
When you’re done, sit down with your beverage of choice, get comfortable, and take in the full IFLS Live panel (video below):