Virtual Astronomy with Skylias
Purpose: Skylias makes another appearance to talk with Dustin and Tony about the lively life of being a professional streamer. She’s got a lot to say about astronomy in the digital age and how technology has changed the hobby.
Skylias: An avid science communicator and twitch streamer, Skylias is extremely active in getting science topics to the average person. She has been featured on the front page of Twitch.tv and is constantly working to increase the excitement for astronomy around the world.
This Episode You’ll Learn:
- What it’s like being a full-time Twitch streamer
- How streaming platforms and astronomy have developed recently
- What motivates Skylias to keep getting better
- Some ideas for getting started yourself
“We’ve got to find ways to make the universe more accessible.” - Dustin Gibson
“Twitch is ideal for breaking the astronomy bubble and bringing in more interest.” - Tony Darnell
“If you don’t attempt to involve yourself with your community, you won’t do very well.” - Skylias
“Through asking better questions we can better define ourselves.” - Dustin Gibson
2:30 - Getting Started with Twitch
Without ever really planning on her rise in popularity to such an extreme (especially so quickly), Skylias has embraced and flourished in her position on Twitch now. She initially began with interviewing people involved in science careers and talking science topics with her viewers, but now her ambitions continue to grow. At one point she was given a front-page spotlight on Twitch.tv which further bolstered her viewership. Nowadays her community has grown quite large through interviewing big name science communicators and generally producing excellent content for her followers. While she does have a large audience lately, this does not minimize the need to consistently produce great content every day. From consistent, hard work comes great content.
15:42 - The Why of Sky
She always knew it would be a struggle, but that was part of why she decided to hop in. Realizing that there is an underserved community after looking for one herself, Skylias jumped in to fill the void. She has viewers of essentially all ages with those between ages 18 and 70 who all engage with her and one another all the time. Upon being met with the incredible support for her efforts, she has since doubled--or even tripled--down on her efforts to make her Twitch channel and the content on it as good as possible. This has evolved into virtual star parties partnered with OPT and other science popularizers to great success. As the Twitch platform and Sky’s channel continue to grow, so too will the possibilities.
37:03 - The Future of Skylias and Twitch
With the way that television has begun to struggle for ratings and viewership, Twitch and similar streaming websites have surged in popularity. Over the past couple years these platforms have been recognized as more legitimate places for both education and information; as a result, many people who may not ever have had any interest in space and general astronomy now have an easily accessible medium to experience it. Through interacting with her audience, Skylias has been able to create a comfortable environment that is open to everyone who has any interest in the universe.
51:02 - Etiquette in the Virtual Community
With online anonymity comes the increased likelihood of encountering those who just want to cause chaos. Both Tony and Skylias are very much in tune with this aspect of online communities. Tony has no patience for “trolls” in the slightest, but the main thing that both stress is that we must discern between the trolls and the honest ones. Because Sky has been so deeply involved with the nature of Twitch chat for so long, she’s become very aware of the differences in her chat. The ultimate goal, of course, is to create an open and inviting space for everyone to share and connect in a civilized and friendly manner.
Do you think streaming platforms are good for astronomy? How has technology helped or hurt your astronomy experiences? Let us know in the comments below!
Next Episode - Chasing Solar Eclipses with Jay Pasachoff
Jay Pasachoff is the main guy to talk with about solar eclipses. He's been studying these for decades and will continue to do so as long as he is able. Listen in on why he studies eclipses so intently and what there is to learn!
The incredible Fraser Cain is back for another rousing discussion on our wild, wild universe. He discusses the Fermi Paradox and The Great Filter with Dustin and Tony. Listen in to learn why the universe feels so devoid of life.