A NASA Tweetup is a special opportunity to give guests behind-the-scenes access to NASA hardware and facilities. Participants are generally chosen by lottery via an open web process and invited to a NASA center to watch a launch, share an experience, or get an inside look at what happens at a center. NASA tweetups are anywhere from several hours to a few days and have included space shuttle launches, science missions, ISS downlinks, mission control - just about every aspect of spaceflight you can imagine.
As of August 2011, over 2,000 participants have been part of official NASA Tweetups since the first event at JPL in January 2009. NASA, in an attempt to measure the impact of one tweetup, tracked 10,665 tweets originating from 150 participants in the Juno Tweetup as well as the subsequent retweets and found 29.9 million potential impressions.
That’s a lot of outreach. I’ve participated in NASA Tweetups as a NASA ambassador for events at my own center (STS-130, first JSC tweetup) as well as a regular participant at another center. (SOFIA at NASA Ames Research Center) Every time I have seen some of the best NASA has to offer.
What’s exciting about tweetups:
- This is social media as it is meant to function. NASA gets to tell their own story without a filter, listen and engage the public response, and interact directly with it. Tweetups also create community among often isolated followers, connecting them to NASA and to each other - and inspiring projects that aren’t sustained by NASA but by the community itself.
- An extremely motivated, space-enthusiastic community who are ready to engage with NASA’s mission at a whole new level. It’s amazing to be in the company of people who sometimes have a wider knowledge of space history and trivia than many of us at NASA! I thought I was a space geek… but tweetups give a whole new definition to space geek!
- The NASA Tweetup community (led by our friend Jon Verville) has set up their own community wiki to share their experiences and multiply their impact. They track each tweetup’s participants, schedule, media mentions, and mission references. The wiki also includes guides for first time attendeees as well as ways to [stay involved].