Yesterday, I attended the first NASA Tweetup at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The NASA Tweetup was not like other Tweetups that I have hosted or been to but was run in a more official capacity. There was a registration process and only confirmed guests were accepted and given access to the event. This process was probably done for security reasons and it contributed to a private event feel. The event was run during business hours from 3 to 5 p.m. EST which is a little early for most but the event was still packed with over 200 attendees. The program schedule showcased the STS-125 astronauts who recently returned from Hubble telescope repair mission and they shared their experiences on the mission. For anyone unable to attend, the event was streamed live on the Web via UStream.
I think NASA accomplished the following key things with this first Tweetup event:
- Connected astronauts with fans and enthusiasts in real life in an open and transparent manner
- Enabled social media by allowing hundreds to take videos, photos and twitter about the event real-time
- Inspired by having real astronauts in attendee to share their perspective and stories
STS-125 Crew on stage at #NASATweetup
Mike Massimino signs autographs at the NASA Tweetup
I applaud NASA for embracing social media and reaching out to the community via the Web to connect and share. You can find more evidence of this over at OpenNASA, a collaborative blog written by NASA employees across the agency, and occasional invited guests.
This was the first NASA Tweetup ever, so I am honored to be a part of social media history. It may not be a walk on the moon but in the Web industry, experiencing NASA embracing new technology to connect with the community is great to see and I was excited to be a part of it.