For those who thought that social media was simply an earth-bound form of communication prepare to have your mind blown….all the way to the farthest reaches of the galaxy.
Meet Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Commander of the International Space Station…..y’know…the one in space. He recently took command of the Space Station and has been posting some amazing pictures and videos to YouTube and Twitter. Over the last few months he has ratcheted up more than 600,000 followers and millions of YouTube views by posting pictures of the Earth and describing life in a weightless environment.
Ever wondered how you brush your teeth in space? Well there’s a pretty fantastic YouTube video showing you how
What about if you wanted to see what London looked like from space? Well he’s been uploading pictures to his Twitter account for the whole world to see
London, England, from Canary Wharf to The City. Look closely and you can see the bridges over the Thames. pic.twitter.com/tGlLx5w6oE
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) March 30, 2013
But he’s not the first scientist to make a splash on the various social networking services. Recently Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide posted what can be considered the best ‘selfie’ in (literally) the whole universe
Scientists and space agencies have found an incredibly receptive audience on Twitter and Facebook. Uber-nerd Neil deGrasse Tyson has more than a million Twitter followers and is one of the far more popular scientists on the planet. He has become a meme, an oft quoted scholar within the debate of science versus religion and he even helped Superman see his planet!!!
Remember the Mars Lunar Landing? Well the Curiosity Rover has its own Twitter feed which is being followed by more than a million people (there is also a brilliant parody feed which is being followed by members of the Jet Propulsion Lab). Along with the actual rover, which continues to keep people on Earth updated on everything happening on Mars, members of the JPL became famous themselves. Bobak Ferdowsi (aka ‘Mohawk Guy‘) became an Internet celebrity in his own right when footage of his outrageous haircut struck a chord with the Internet. He has since become the de facto spokesperson for NASA projects and has helped the space agency see a resurgence in popularity.
But WHY? Why are social networks so fascinated with space and science?
One of the most important reasons is that the Internet loves nerds. It’s true. The Internet just loves them some nerds. Those poor kids who were picked on in high school for being fat, asthmatic or great at maths and science are now reaping the karmic rewards that come with having a horrible childhood experience. Geek is now chic. Seeing as the Internet was created by nerds (no offence intended to my fellow nerds and geeks) it makes sense that those who have become its proponents would seek to rally around their brethren. In fact Felicia Day (one of the sexiest geeks alive) created what has since become the ‘geek anthem’
Those who use and promote social media come from all sections of society. We have nerds, jocks, scientists, english majors, authors and ad executives. Truly we’re a miss-mash of societies and cultures. But as Commander Hadfield has shown us….it doesn’t matter what you are on Earth…you’ve got to love watching a guy brush his teeth in space!