Friday, June 20, 2008

NASA's big news is also big for Twitter

It's not exactly every day that NASA gets to announce to the world that it's discovered water-based ice on another planet. But that's exactly what happened on Thursday.

And if you wanted to hear the news before anyone else in the world, then you had to be on Twitter. Via this tweet, the MarsPhoenix rover announced to the world that crystals collected earlier on the Red Planet, were indeed made up of ice.

This is obviously a big coop for Twitter, but also for NASA as well. NASA has committed to using Twitter to rely constant information about the activities of the MarsPhoenix rover, which now has over 20,000 followers. This is a great way to educate the public on exactly how the $420 million NASA invested in the MarsPhoenix is being spent.

I am a fan of space exploration, but I admit that I often wonder exactly what gets accomplished on all these shuttle missions and every time they send up another expedition. Thanks to NASA educating us via Twitter, I can see EXACTLY why the Mars Phoenix mission is so important, and why the findings are so significant. I can see making a discovery that could ultimately lead to finding life on another planet for the first time as being worth the investment, even if it is priced at $420 million.

And this also goes to the heart of why social media works so well, as communication channels. NASA is tapping into these very qualities to educate us on why this mission and its discoveries are so critically important. My guess is that will greatly help the space agency when it lobbies for more funding for future expeditions.

BTW for the record, when NASA breaks news of this magnitude on Twitter, I think we can officially kill the 'is Social Media a fad?' question. Agreed? kthxbai



Anonymous said...

From a geeky exploration standpoint, that is absolutely phenomenal. But from a geeky human relations standpoint, it is just as phenomenal. A government agency representative says "w00t" on an emerging social media source? Be still my heart. ;)

Mack Collier said...

"A government agency representative says "w00t" on an emerging social media source? Be still my heart. ;)"

Right Cam, that might be the most significant development in all of this ;)

Anonymous said...

This is why I love social media in general and blogs specifically. The news is interesting, it's not filled with scare-tactics like other news sources can be, it is wonderfully current, and it's easy to do some instant follow up research to find out more. Thanks for the post, and keep it up!