Monday, October 13, 2014

Tweet Home

"Drill down for what? Science."

This is a real tweet from the Curiosity Rover, the spacecraft that's been exploring Mars for the last two years, and I just became a huge fan its account, @MarsCuriosity.

If you're like me and have ever wondered or been concerned about how our spacecrafts are faring being so far away from home, just look to Twitter. Since 2008, spacecrafts like the Curiosity Rover and the 37-year-old Voyager have been optimistically reassuring us that they are happy and healthy.

Roughly six years ago, NASA's three-person social media team created online personas for the distant robots and their missions, and they did so with admirable finesse. The team quickly learned it was much easier to tweet in first-person when bound to 140 characters and discovered that a relatable personality paired with logical updates best resonated with followers. Then, high engagement was garnered through sharing photos and weaving-in current event humor. Followers respond well to the casual tone and intellectual tidbits offered by the various spacecrafts. Followers also just think it's cool to "communicate" with a pal that's literally billions of miles away. (Or maybe that's just me...)

Each spacecraft has its own account and unique voice. The @MarsCuriosity is the friendly, chatty new guy on Mars. The @CassiniSaturn is quite witty and stoic as it studies Saturn and its rings, and the @NASAVoyager is noted as the bravest satellite of all, the veteran with a bit of wanderlust. While the tone for each robot may be different, the model is the same: Their tweets incorporate some mix of audience interaction, current trends and specific, detailed updates. 

NASA and its spacecrafts use Twitter as a human-connectedness tool, in such a way to encourage people to care about the often-forgotten goings-on in outer space. It lets the world know that our intergalactic buddies way out there are doing ok.

Tying this all back to social media marketing, the spacecrafts' Twitter handles effortlessly intrigue and engage online audiences; take a generally undervalued topic and humanize it for maximum interest and reach. How cool is it that these rovers take a second to check-in with us earthlings and let us know it's all good? 

The Atlantic article here.

Follow these cool rovers and missions: @MarsCuriosity, @CassiniSaturn, @NASAVoyager

Follow me here.

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