Tag Archives: social media

From Serendipity to Space Harmony

Social media is unfolding a world of unknowns for us at NASA. Take for instance NASA’s serendipitous new relationship with the band, McFly.

I admit, I’d never heard of McFly before two weeks ago. Where have I been? How did I miss this phenom band? I just learned today that McFly snatched the Beatles’ long-held title in the Guinness Book of World Records as youngest band to hit #1 with a début album. (Not MY Beatles! Heaven forbid.)

So what’s the connection between NASA and McFly?

Social Media: Twitter, to be exact!

During the STS-125 Space Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope, McFly’s founder Tom Fletcher @TomMcFly encouraged his 40,000+ (now over 50,000) fans to tweet @NASA to play one of the band’s songs, “Star Girl,” as a Wake-Up call for the astronauts. “Ok followers, let’s tweet @NASA for “star girl” to be played in space!!!”

And tweet they did!

#StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace! #StarGirlInSpace!

Through serendipity, a NASA colleague of mine happened to see all the #StarGirlinSpace tweets pouring over Tweetgrid. She contacted me to see if I noticed saw all the traffic. We googled “McFly: Star Girl” and discovered their YouTube music video, featuring the band members attempting their own back-yard-astonaut-training. We laughed so hard we drew a crowd in the office. We immediately contacted our buddies in Public Affairs to request formal contact with the band.

You might wonder why?

Why would NASA cave under pressure to a pesky bunch of over-zealous teens that clog up our @NASA twitter account? (Admit it: that thought crossed your mind!)

I’ll tell you why.

We’ve lost touch with the youth of our nation and the world. Sure, NASA boasts a solid following among men, educated folks, and the AARP generation. Yes, we get high public opinion scores for doing a good job. But, dig below the surface and you’ll find the Gen X/Y-ers simply don’t see NASA as relevant to their lives. McFly’s fanbase fits eXACTly within the age demographic we have trouble penetrating.

I watched the sample DVD they sent us: Radio: Active Live. These guys are GOOD! With their catchy tunes, fantastic harmonies, and amazing energy – not to mention good looks – no wonder they have tens of thousands of adoring fans. They look and sound like a modern-day version of the Beatles. And, they named themselves after Marty McFly from “Back To The Future.” What’s NOT to like? 

Band Members:

Tom Fletcher

Danny Jones

Dougie Poynter

Harry Judd

Hey McFly boys, can YOU ignite passion for space among your adoring fans? Can you give voice to the drama and magic of the unknown in a way we can’t?

Will “Star Girl” get airtime as a Wake-Up call? Unknown. (Actually, the song selection process is another blog post entirely.) No matter! We’ll figure something out. And, we have a number of potential ideas on how to collaborate outside the Star Girl option.

Thanks Social Media and Serendipity for bringing us together with such talented musicians who happen to like space! McFly boys, how cool if your fans screamed over NASA space missions! Someday….

If music is the key to engage the next generation in space, then play that chord boys! Play it LOUD!

4 Comments

Filed under NASA, space

NASA Leadership

Get-OUT-of-this-World Leader

All the NASA-verse is a-Twitter with speculation about a new NASA Administrator. Social media allows us to spread rumors beyond the traditional NASA hall-talk and space media club to every-day-man, who picks up the buzz on blogs and Twitter. With Twitterfall, Tweetgrid,Tweetmeme and others trending agents, we can easily track the chatter.

A recent tweet that caught my attention. The writer wondered why the space community seemed so pleased with the rumored selection of former astronaut Charlie Bolden. Here’s my answer: Charlie Bolden is a known quantity.

NASA engineers and scientists, though forever searching for the answers to the unknown, like to deal in ‘knowns’ whenever possible. What, you say? It’s logical, really. We seek what we don’t know by leveraging what we know.

We pride ourselves at NASA in thoroughly mapping strategy to address every contingency that could EVER conceivably happen, then rethink it over and again. We have contingency procedures for every step along the way. We want to manage the risk and operate in a world of known quantities. If we don’t know, we test and test and test again until we build up a database of knowns.

Same with leadership. We find comfort in the known – even if we don’t like what is presented to us. At least we know what to expect and can adjust accordingly. Known=good, unknown=bad. That simple.

Charlie Bolden comes from the human spaceflight world. Heck, he flew in space. He’s one of us. Known=good. 

The President will make a choice for the next Administrator of NASA.  Whoever that man or woman may be, we desperately need a natural born leader with humility, integrity and good sense. 

Here’s my definition of leadership: 

A leader is NOT the one who steps to the front of the line, but one who INSPIRES a long line of followers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under NASA, space