NASA hosted our first tweet-up at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, corresponding with the STS-129 Space Shuttle launch. Tweeters from around the world attended -- from as far away as the UK, Morocco, and New Zealand. We exposed them to speakers who shared their experiences on what it takes to launch a Shuttle to what it's like in space, with Twitternaut @Astro_Mike Massimino. We toured the facilities at the space center and took them out to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis on Launch Pad A.
Whew! Busy couple of days.
I'm still processing conversations from the STS-129 Launch Tweet-Up. Because we spent launch day at the press site, I crossed paths with a number of veteran reporters and cameramen -- yes, most were men.
They found it "amusing" -- to say the least -- that we wanted to host a group of "twits." Ar Ar Ar Ar. Think loud belly laughs and shared nods. (A modern version of their reaction would be fist-bumps.) We prefer the word, tweeps, thank you.
Here's one common question: "What can you possibly say in 140 characters?"
My answer: A few well chosen words speak volumes. What about:
I love you.
You're free to go.
I'm pregnant. (I'm not. Just so you know.)
Here are a few words I tweet often. Reality check on our industry. We've been reluctant to let others see us sweat. So. I like to remind the twitterverse:
Space is HARD! We make it look easy.
But noone can tweet it better than @Astro_Mike Massimino, who is eloquent in his 140 character essays on life in space.
My point is simply this: 140 characters, crafted thoughtfully, can be life-changing. We, in the government AND media, are wedded to our wordiness. (Just look at some of the titles on our business cards.) We ensure nothing is left open to interpretation. We want the "last word" to close out the argument.
Twitter invites a conversation. Free form. No boundaries.
Is free-flowing conversation a risk? Sure. Isn't it always? But, I think we call that democracy. Right? Freedom of speech? Twitter simply makes it global. And how cool is that!
Follow the living, breathing NASA STS-129 Tweet-Up conversation.
Cross post on www.bethbeck.wordpress.com.