How To Run an Awesome Gov’t TweetUp – Lessons from NASA


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So I spent today at the awesome NASA tweetup in Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to stay until the delayed launch (now Wednesday).

But I learned a lot in my 7 hours on site about NASA and even more particularly how government agencies can throw awesome events.

1 – Good size – It’s about 100 people which I think is nice. It’s big enough that creates lots of energy

2 – Great welcome
– Signs were everywhere for NASA Tweetup. They had a special registration desk with awesome goodie bag full of space ice cream, cool badges, materials, and more.

3 – Great emails before hand
– I must have gotten 20 emails before hand with all the details and reminders. Everything you could have had questions on, they had already answered. And since most people are bad with email, they sent lots of good reminders.

4 – Great signs and branding – They had tons of special NASA Tweetup signs everywhere plus traditional NASA signs. They made it feel like the event it was. They easily could have underdone it but they did it up right.

5 – Made it fun – The tone was great and fun. For example, they had a NASA spacesuit people could take photos in.

6 – Guest speakers –
Besides a number of amazing NASA speakers, they also had the Twitter product manager talk. He brought a different perspective to the talk and he could actually talk about mission of NASA even better with the personal touch. I asked him a question about differences between government and company use of Twitter and if varied by size of organization or type of agency. His answer was that it wasn’t affected by those two criteria but more by whether the mission and personality of the
organization and it’s nature to be open and outreach.

7 – Resources – Obviously NASA spends time and resources on outreach. Numerous people mentioned today that a key part of NASA’s mission is educational outreach and also to bring space travel to the American people. I totally agree and one can tell NASA devotes a lot of resources to making sure this happen.

8 – Flexibility – In a space launch, not everything goes as plan. Yes, there were some hiccups with plans due to changes in weather affecting the space launch. We also had a couple audibles regarding our tours today due to a mechanical problem. But the team communicated right away and were open and transparent.

Overall, NASA did an amazing job and I felt honored to be a part.

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Joe Sanchez

Steve, your NASA experience and that of Alex Howard, Jenn Gustetic, and others who visited there could be described as an “immersive experience” per a recently published book, “Eyeballs Out” by Donna Sturgess. Immersive experiences are a way to “step into another world” and “discover new ideas” and insights that in turn can drive innovation and inspiration in business, government entity, and/or NGOs. The book is based on Ms. Sturgess’ experiences on board the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier, the USS Stennis, and describes what she learned from this experience. Just started reading “Eyeballs Out” and am very much enjoying it.

Lauren Modeen

This is great! Quality take-aways for anyone planning a tweetup. Looks like NASA covered the who, what, where, why, when, how really well! Others can emulate…

Jenn Gustetic

Agreed withe @Joe.

This week was one of the most inspiring and re-energizing ones I’ve had in a while. I am sooo fired up about education and innovation after that wonderful job NASA did in getting us all inspired. A blog post from me coming on this soon…

I feel so fortunate to have been a part of the innovation summit (different from the tweetup though we got a lot of the same tours/perks) even though I’m missing the launch itself. It was delayed AGAIN until Thursday. But NASA treated us so well this week that even though the delayed launch is a disappointment, I’m still walking away having had an amazing experience!