Down-to-earth social media tips from out-of-this-world experiences

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What You’ll Learn:: 

Imagine, says astronaut Ron Garan, that you find yourself on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

And only a handful of human beings have ever seen the spectacular sight.

That’s how he felt on his first space flight, back before the days of social media. He wished he could share the visual feast with everyone.

No wonder Garan and fellow astronaut Michael Fossum are so enthusiastic about social media. And they’ll have you excited anew about the possibilities of Twitter, Facebook, and other digital platforms.

In this video session from the Social Media for Government Communicators summit at NASA’S Space Center Houston, you'll learn:

  • Why your images can make instant content for social media
  • Why NASA liberates its employees to tweet and post on Facebook
  • How to define social media objectives
  • How to draft a simple employee policy that protects you but encourages involvement
  • How to engage followers—and get them to take your content (and message) and run with it

After his initial skepticism, Garan is a convert to Twitter. “I saw this as a way that I could bring people along on the mission not just as spectators, but as crew members,” he says.

Learn from his journey how to win over your organization’s leaders. Is your leadership saying "no way" to a Twitter account? Then you need to hear about Garan's journey from a doubter to a believer who has more than 1.5 million Twitter followers. After they view this session, you will have your naysayers saying, “This is great!”

The new-media revolution changed the way NASA does outreach. What about you?

Find out the two reasons you must embrace the immediacy of social media. Hint: If it’s not online right now, it may as well not exist.

Hear how exchanges with one persnickety follower led to new engagement and a fan who eagerly amplified NASA’s message.

NASA is an expert piggybacker on breaking news—while doing so in good taste. Astronauts have tweeted photos of approaching hurricanes, Texas wildfires, and astronaut’s-eye-views of places in the news, such as Libya or the Indo-Pakistani border. And NASA has increased engagement through geography quizzes.

Find out how fans amplify content. They stitched together time-sequence photos NASA sent and turned them into an awe-inspiring video fly-over of earth and the aurora borealis.

Sure, you may say, but astronauts are allotted time to tweet, unlike busy communicators. Not true. Learn how they juggle their jobs and social media when they are expected to post during their free time.

Hear how astronauts send offbeat photos from their sleeping quarters, or snap frames between sets on the weight machines. (The workout area has an incredible view of Earth.)

Start your countdown to social media stardom here.

September 2012

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Presenter bio: 

Michael Fossum began astronaut training in August 1998, taking a course that included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in Space Shuttle and International Space Station systems, physiological training and ground school, and water and wilderness survival training. Before that, he served as the astronaut office lead for space station flight software development. As a capsule communicator in Mission Control, Fossum supported several flights. A veteran of three space flights, he has logged more than 194 days in space, including more than 48 hours of spacewalks.

NASA Astronaut Ron Garan completed his first spaceflight in 2008 on Space Shuttle Discovery as a flight engineer for ascent and entry. He helped deliver the Japanese experimental technology to the International Space Station; he was among the astronauts who brought a 37-foot Kibo lab to the Station. Garan accumulated 20 hours of spacewalks while maintaining the station and priming the Japanese module's robotic arm during the nine days it was docked at the orbiting laboratory.