Today (14th Jan 2010) I have been truly amazed at the power of social media – and in a way I did not expect at all. As I write this, I am listening to a live feed of a space walk by the Cosmonauts Maxim Surayev and Oleg Kotov on the International Space Station on NASA_TV. This comes complete with a running translation of Oleg and Max as they work (they are currently fixing cables) and occasional comments/ explanations from Mission Control in Houston on what is happening. As a child of the 1960s who remembers being astounded by what I was watching with the Apollo missions and moon landings, I find this is a stunning affirmation of what humans are capable of achieving. It puts life into context.
After listening to all the fuss the British news media have been making about the snowy weather (to an embarrassing degree in my view), to hear one of the astronauts (either Oleg or Max – not sure which but they feel like friends now!) complaining that it’s starting to get cold – compare this to our minus 15 degrees centigrade and what they are floating around in (according to Wiki_Answers temperatures at the space station range from +121 degrees centigrade when in direct sunlight to – 157C).
Then to hear them admiring the view as they pass over Africa (212 miles over Libya according to Mission Control & 14 minutes away from entering into orbital night!) – still amazed by the beauty of it despite the length of time they have been in orbit. How often do we as individuals take the time to remember what a truly astonishing world and era we live in. Yes there are plenty of negatives but the positives can take your breath away if only you stopped to look at them.
And all of this was possible for me through Twitter!
As a newcomer to social media in December 2009, I was actively searching the best Tweeters to follow to compare how they use Twitter and came across @NASA when I was looking at @BarackObama. To think that Twitter has the power to connect me as an individual with organisations like these – and play a major role in the election of a President! It will be interesting in our UK election year to compare what our own politicians do with social media…… but I’ll save my comments on that for another blog!
As I sign off, we are 2 hours & 53 minutes into the space walk. They are now working in orbital night with a flashlight, but it’ll be easier to view in 18 minutes as they come back into orbital sunlight as the International Space Station is on a north west to south east projectory around our planet. You might like to know they are now 45 minutes ahead on their work schedule on the Poyck module ….
Twitter passes the power of communication to the small business to reach the world – but it’s up to all of us to seize the moment. One plea though – make your tweets a thing of beauty that would impress a cosmonaut……