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Space Shuttle Endeavor: The Social Media Story

Picture of Kyle Sacks, Social Media Coordinator

Kyle Sacks, Social Media Coordinator

This morning at 8:56:28 EST the space shuttle Endeavor lifted off from Kennedy Space Center for the last time. I’m a self-professed space nerd, so this was essentially my Super Bowl. I did not, however, flip the television on to the news. Why not? Because this is 2011, why watch a bunch of jokers ramble about something they don’t understand? I’ll take my space news with a side of expertise please. Luckily, NASA also knows it’s 2011.

The first thing I did was open Twitter to follow the “pre-game” while I was getting ready for work. NASA has an amazing twitter presence. They live tweeted the whole launch procedure through their main account. They use hashtags and re-tweet others who were watching the launch. They kept up with questions people had about the launch procedure. Many of the astronauts on Endeavor’s crew have accounts and posted pictures of them getting ready. Col. Mike Fincke was tweeting pictures of himself getting suited up and eating his last meal (lobster tail!) before having to eat paste for two weeks. He’s also pretty funny. NASA are some of the best tweeters you’ll see anywhere and their million+ follower count backs that up.

Oh wait, the launch is supposed to happen right in the middle of my commute! What ever should I do? Fire up the the NASA iPhone app and start live streaming the launch, of course! I mainly listened to the flight crew and the mission control run through the various procedures, however I set my phone so I could sneak a few peaks when the shuttle finally launched. When I got to work I went to the NASA website to look at pictures and watch the post-launch news conference (don’t tell Jocelyn). All in all, it was a nerd’s dream. Tons of digital content delivered directly to my phone in real time. The craziest part? THEY’RE A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. It somehow doesn’t seem right that they are so hip with social media, but they’re surprising us all by doing it correctly. As a brand, they are providing their target audience with the goods they want. And as a member of that audience, I can say they deliver in spades.

Other brands can learn from NASA by not confining themselves to a stereotype – think outside of the proverbial box! New media tools give you a chance to reach your consumer in ways they will appreciate. So what are you waiting for? Shoot for the moon (pun most definitely intended).

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