Our world population has doubled in the past 50 years. We had three billion in 1959, four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987 and six billion in 1998. A little over one week ago, the human population on planet Earth reached seven billion. This marks an important milestone for our species. Fifty years ago, shortly before John F. Kennedy issued his challenge to reach the moon, we had just crossed the three billion mark. This expansion is a testament to our ability to produce, grow, and connect. Perhaps the most important innovation tying us together since then has been the advent of the public Internet. As we’ve grown and become more dispersed over the planet, the Internet has allowed us to instantaneously connect and communicate in new and exciting ways.
Although we may still see the Internet largely as a productivity tool, or as a way to access information, it’s become so much more than that. It’s a collaboration platform that is bringing us together. With the acceleration of digital convergence and increasingly pervasive use of digital devices to access all manner of information, the Internet has become a platform for participation. Each second, the world’s information is increasingly sorted, sifted, and combined in various useful and creative ways by communities of people from all corners of the world. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+ are reshaping human interactions and helping us connect to one another.
As an agency trusted with charting the universe and expanding human knowledge, NASA has long been at the forefront of using the Internet to communicate with and involve citizens in our mission of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. NASA had one of the first websites on the Internet in the 90s, obtained one of the first accounts on Twitter in 2007, and began Tweeting in late 2008. We have now launched our NASA presence on Google+ as the first government agency on the platform.
This is an exciting step for NASA and we have already seen enormous interest from the Google+ community - we had over a thousand new followers in the first hour! We look forward to exploring this new engagement platform and innovating how NASA shares information.