News and views on what matters to me: mindfulness, leadership, public relations, marketing, social media, pop culture and every now and then I will surprise you with something else.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and there has been a lot of reflection on the historic moment. The AM New York says that the “universe got a lot smaller” and showcases quotes from New Yorkers as they reminisce and reflect on the changes that took place in the past forty years in the space exploration frontier. What seems to have gone a little under the radar is that about a week ago, on July 15th, another mission took place; US Army’s Colonel Tim Kopra launched into space on a shuttle mission to the International Space Station. He will remain as a flight engineer for Expedition 20, ongoing throughout the next six months. What is pretty amazing about his trip is his use of social media to share his story and inform the public. Talk about the ability to share compelling content with all of us without the use of main stream media. Forty years ago, families were huddled around their TV sets listening to the late Walter Cronkite exclaim “Man on the moon. Oh jeez! Oh boy! Whew!” Fast forward to today, the traditional media coverage is not as heavy, but the quality and quantity of the content has increased. Our society used to glorify astronauts back in those days, and today we may be more focused on celebrity and gossip coverage that is taking over our tv sets. This becomes a bigger question of where the nations priorities are, but I will leave that out of today’s blog post and instead concentrate on the fascinating use of social media to make up for the lack of tv coverage.
The US Army has cleverly set up a micro site where the public can ask questions to Colonel Kopra. http://www.goarmy.com/space. This is amazing not only because it feeds our curiosity, but it also becomes very personal to each individual. All the different questions will make us learn about things we never may have thought about ourselves. There is also a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/usarmyastronauts where the general public can get the latest from Colonel Kopra and explore and learn at their convenience.
Aside from providing compelling content and informing the public, what a savvy recruiting technique by the US Army. Showcasing Colonel Kopra and showing the “behind the scenes” view of what it takes to be an US Army Astronaut, it gives a true and real meaning to the phrase the Army often uses which is, you can be anything you want in the US Army. It has always been fascinating to me how social media can be used as both a vehicle of information and marketing tool. Some of the best examples out there do both, and do them very well. With this particular instance, the public can get an individualized experience of the mission (take in as much or as little information as they want, or the type of information they choose to digest) while the content is so compelling that it may leave some individuals thinking about Army as a career option. Thanks to social media we have a new perspective on the space frontier. We can now individualize our experience and tailor it to fit our needs whether they be driven by curiosity or something completely different.