Astronauts Do The Coolest Things

I think a large part of the organisation’s communications success is down to the creativity and personality of the astronauts themselves… and NASA’s comfort at letting their personnel broadcast to their earth-shackled audience directly.

Is there any organisation out there leveraging the Internet as effectively as NASA? Despite the loss of the Space Shuttle programme in 2011, the agency seems to be winning hearts and minds through its confident and open use of social media.

Of course, NASA’s PR department is assisted by expensive, state funded machinery and the spectacular images it creates. But this does not tell the whole story. I think a large part of the organisation’s communications success is down to the creativity and personality of the astronauts themselves… and NASA’s comfort at letting their personnel broadcast to their earth-shackled audience directly. Continue reading “Astronauts Do The Coolest Things”

Heathcare Reform Photo

I just saw this photo on a BBC News report on healthcare reform.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It was pulled from the White House’s official Flickr stream, and I think it may soon become emblematic.  It will be used to illustrate a huge victory, substantial but also symbolic, of the Obama Administration.  The President looks chuffed but not ecstatic.  A job well done, but you sense he will be turning to his staff to ask, “what’s next?

Maybe that’s not what happened in reality.  Maybe the President went mental and stood on a table with a knife, lording over his defeated enemies.  But we don’t see that photo.  Significantly, we only have this one image of the celebrations, so that is what will persist of that moment – its a clever bit of subtle PR.  Politicians have been shaping the narrative with flattering images for centuries, of course.  But its always interesting to watch it happen in real time.