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Communicator of the Week: Commander Chris Hadfield

12th March 2013


Since the birth of Twitter, as of January 2013, there had been 163 billion Tweets. There are now roughly 400 million Tweets per day and for big set-piece events things rev up even further. For example during the first of the live U.S. presidential TV debates last year there were 10 million Tweets over two hours. By comparison the London Olympics generated 150 million Tweets over 16 days.  All-in-all there is more noise, many more Tweets, so getting noticed is becoming harder.

As people increasingly turn to Twitter or other social media platforms to do much more than interact with friends the quality of content individuals and businesses share with their ‘friends’ and followers is ever more important. Content is King; which brings us to the winner of our award this week.
Science and exploration has always underpinned human space exploration but what has often been lacking has a connection with those of us left down on Earth. Arguably the highlight of the space community’s communication achievements came in 1969 when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Many millions watched the event live on television meaning a connection was made between ordinary people and those brave men hundreds of miles above the Earth.

Over the past months attempts have been made to break down barriers and connect by Commander Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut on the International Space Station. He has taken to Twitter – I recommend you check out his account @cmdr_hadfield – and is using the social network brilliantly backed up with videos on YouTube.

He is a case study in brilliant content: a mix of irreverent Tweets about life on the Space Station like pictures of him in his ‘space pyjamas’; posting videos of ‘how to’ do things such as get a haircut in space; live Q&As; lovely personal messages to his family; and brilliant images including a heart shape made from cloud formations to celebrate Mother’s Day, Scotland, North Wales on St. David's Day, and Washington D.C. among his daily Tweetpics posted; he has even recorded a song with a band and choir back on Earth.   He has also taken time to interact with his followers and has asked questions of his followers if he saw something he was unsure what it was. With engagement being an essential element of any good social media campaign Commander Hadfield has ticked all the boxes. For breaking down barriers and bringing space closer to many of us than ever before in a fun and engaging way I make him my Communicator of the Week.

Written by Edward Staite, founder of Staite Communications



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