Everyone is doing social media… But NASA does it Better!

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This weekly blog pinpoints huge happenings in the world of Federal government contracting. Check out more on our Twitter account: @RIVA_Solutions. And search our new hashtag, #FedBuzz, for daily updates and join the conversation! Weekly, we, here at RIVA Solutions, like to spotlight government agencies that are leading the way as part of the new social government. We profile the agencies, their public affairs officers, new media directors, web mavens and other gov communicators who give form to the messages that the agencies want to convey. Are you ready to learn about this week’s agency? Read on!

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has taken the social media from cyberspace to outer space with their use of social media tools to engage users.

NASA commands social media cyber space through its heavy use of popular social media platforms such as twitter to help excite people about NASA programs. The most memorable event is NASA Tweetup. For those of you unfamiliar with a TweetUp, a Tweetup is an informal meeting of people who use the social messaging medium Twitter. NASA Tweetups provide @NASA followers with the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at NASA facilities and events and speak with scientists, engineers, astronauts and managers. NASA Tweetups range from two hours to two days in length and include a “meet and greet” session to allow participants to mingle with fellow Tweeps and the people behind NASA’s Twitter feeds.

Learn more about the NASA TweetUps at  http://www.nasa.gov/connect/tweetup/index.html

In addition to the TweetUps, NASA uses the popular location based social media platform, Foursquare, to allow for check-ins from NASA locations. NASA astronaut and International Space Station Commander Doug Wheelock became the first person to “check in” from space Oct. 22 using the mobile social networking application Foursquare. Wheelock’s check in to the International Space Station launched a partnership between NASA and Foursquare to connect its users to the space agency, enabling them to explore the universe and discover Earth. Since the return of Commander Wheelock, individuals are able to check-in to NASA related locations and events in order to earn the NASA Explorer Badge.

Learn about the NASA and Foursquare partnership at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/foursquare.html

One of the people responsible for taking NASA’s social media out of this world is Stephanie Schierholz, NASA’s Social Media Manager.  Unlike many other agencies and organizations NASA cannot advertise, which left the agency at the hands of reporters. Now social media provides NASA with the opportunity to communicate and reach out to millions of followers. Stephanie sees social media as a “tool” that has done wonderful things allowing people and organizations to communicate. According to Stephanie,

“Social media sites are valuable tools that have enabled NASA employees to engage the public through media that spread the word efficiently and effectively. The Agency has come quite a distance since the pioneers at JPL started a Twitter account for the Mars Phoenix lander in May 2008. NASA’s primary Twitter account @NASA is nearing 1 million followers, and we have more than 200 social media accounts Agency-wide. Don’t believe me? Check out http://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Social media provides us an easy way to keep the public updated with news delivered straight into their newsfeed and homepage, Web sites they probably visit more often than news sites or the NASA Web site.

But the real value of NASA’s use of social media can be seen in the level of engagement and the communities that form around them. It is called social media because our fans and followers have a reasonable expectation that their questions may be answered and their comments heard. By responding and interacting with them, NASA has the opportunity to educate, inform, and inspire. Fans and followers who are passionate about what we do have platforms to express this passion and share it with their friends, fans, and followers.”

Learn more about the NASA Social Media program and other ways to connect with NASA at http://www.nasa.gov/connect/index.html

Check out the NASA Handles

Twitter: @NASA*

Facebook: NASA

UStream: NASA Television

YouTube: NASA Television

*There are hundreds of twitter accounts associated with NASA online. Check out the websites above for complete listing.

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