Social Relevance: The @MarsCuriosity Story

Originally posted at the Likeable Media Blog.

When Neil Armstong stepped foot on the Moon for the first time, millions watched with bated breath all over the globe. Ever since that historic July evening in 1969, public interest in the US space program has steadily declined. When NASA sent their Mars Science Laboratory rover (affectionately dubbed Curiosity) on its mission to the Red Planet in November 2011, they knew they needed to drum up support and breathe some life back into the program. So like any future-minded organization, they turned to social media to find their audience and their voice. The @MarsCuriosity Twitter account not only delights hundreds of thousands of followers here on Earth with funny and informative tweets, it also serves as a stellar example of how old-school businesses can make themselves relevant again by finding their audience where they already exist. Let’s have a look at what they’re doing right!

@MarsCuriosity has created so much buzz that millions watched NASA’s official streaming video as Curiosity successfully landed on Mars just around 1:30am ET on August 6, 2012. Across Twitter, there was a feeling of excitement that many compared to the feelings held by those watching Walter Cronkite’s coverage of the Apollo 11 landing. This was not the first time NASA had sent a probe to Mars; they’ve been doing that since the mid-1970s. What made this landing so special? NASA’s efforts to spread awareness and excitement! Their Twitter presence has been second to none. They know that a large portion of their audience is made up of science fiction nerds and young people who spend much of their time enjoying Internet culture and memes. So @MarsCuriosity has been speaking their language. Fun tweets like the ones below make NASA’s message extremely compelling and inherently viral. The more people see their Tweets, the more awareness spreads about the mission, which could swing voters to support candidates who will back NASA. It all comes around. Imagine what happens when your online community votes to support your business with their dollars!



Frank Emanuele

I’m a proud Catholic, social media nerd, podcaster, musician, blogger, New Yorker & Community Manager at Likeable Media. I’m all about Superman, Star Wars & the Beatles! I love to express myself in the written word. There’s nothing quite like reading your ideas on a page (or screen, as the case may be) and knowing that others are reading those ideas and thinking about them. Please read, comment, and most importantly, enjoy! The content and opinions represented in this blog represent my personal views and not the views of my employer. For more info, visit