January 18, 2013
This month marks the fourth anniversary of the first NASA Tweetup, held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 21, 2009. NASA Tweetups, now known as NASA Socials, have brought thousands of people who engage with the agency via social media together for unique in-person experiences of exploration and discovery.
The first Tweetup brought 130 individuals to JPL to meet and speak directly with mission scientists and engineers. It included a behind-the-scenes tour of JPL, with a stop at the Spacecraft Assembly Facility where the Curiosity Mars rover was then under construction, and the mission control area of NASA's Deep Space Network. The event was streamed live for those who wanted to attend virtually via the Internet.
"Our first Tweetup allowed space enthusiasts and the simply curious from around the country to meet with our mission personnel. Connections were formed that continue today, bringing together people with a passion for space from all walks of life," said Veronica McGregor, social media manager at JPL. "We knew immediately that we wanted to do more of these events."
Since 2009, NASA has hosted more than 50 Tweetups at 15 locations. Attendees have had the opportunity to witness shuttle launches, and spacecraft launches to the moon, Jupiter and Mars; fly an F/A-18 flight simulator; and rub elbows with astronauts. Participants chosen at random from online submissions go behind the scenes at NASA facilities, take photos, ask questions and share the experience with their social media followers.
In 2012, NASA expanded the Tweetup program to include not only Twitter users, but Facebook, Google+ and other social networks, reflecting the agency's broadening use of social media platforms to engage new audiences. As part of this effort, the "NASA Tweetup" is now known as "NASA Social."
It's amazing how far we've come since the first NASA Tweetup," said John Yembrick, NASA's social media lead at the agency's Headquarters in Washington. "Social media allows us to now connect directly with the public, who are now able to communicate directly with their space program."
NASA social media followers at seven field centers around the nation came together virtually for the first multi-center NASA Social on Aug. 3, 2012. This event, originating from JPL, previewed the landing of the Mars Curiosity rover. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions of the JPL science and engineering teams, as well as tour their respective host NASA center.
To find out about and register for an opportunity to participate in an upcoming NASA Social, visit http://www.nasa.gov/social .
For information about connecting and collaborating with NASA, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/connect .
For a full list of previous NASA Socials, visit the Wikipedia entry curated by former attendees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Social .
Veronica McGregor 818-354-9452v
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
John Yembrick / Jason Townsend 202-358-1584 / 202-358-0359
NASA Headquarters, Washington
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