Integrating SOFiA activities
By Robin Ford, Editor of the SOFiA bulletin
COVID-19 has certainly shaken us up. No announcement of its coming. No sandwich boards proclaiming “Repent; the end is nigh”. No, just a tiny virus, small enough to ride on droplets in the air, but multiplying into a veritable army. “My name is Legion, because we are many”.
It was all too much to get my brain around, so instead I’ve looked at how the SOFiA bulletin can best integrate with the other SOFiA publications.
SOFiA is full of free spirits, so each organiser does their own thing. This means that its activities often stand on their own. So we have the SOFiA bulletin, the website, blog, groups and Facebook page acting autonomously most of the time. But are we missing out by not looking for synergies? I think we are. And I think we can gain those benefits without losing that delightful freedom.
Each of SOFiA’s activities has its own communication style. For the SOFiA bulletin I aim for respectful, yet direct; considerate, yet honest; iconoclastic, yet thoughtful. It is certainly eclectic, ranging from longish scholarly articles to short one-liners. And because it comes out just six times a year there is time be reflective.
The distinctive feature of the SOFiA bulletin is that it is curated – I assemble items into a document that I distribute. This is in contrast to the other activities, which generally leave an individual enquirer to decide what to access, and when to access it.
Which brings up the question “How should the SOFiA bulletin be integrated with the other SOFiA publications?” I concluded that the hub of SOFiA’s activities should be the website. The SOFiA bulletin would then become its curated expression. For some time I have linked SOFiA’s various activities in Digitalia (my review of the website, blog and Facebook page) but this is brief. I have expanded this in the latest SOFiA bulletin, and I have plans for more.
As our globe, full of disparate creatures, spins through space, and its inhabitants tussle with the latest emergency what is the objective of all this? Without, I hope, being grandiose, I hope each bulletin will play a part – however small – in making sense of our existence.
Back copies of the SOFiA bulletin are available in PDF format online.