Still ahead on Top Story: The End Of The Mission.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield is scheduled to return to Earth tonight, after commanding the International Space Station for five months. How the Canadian created a surging interest in space through social media; when we return. Thank you very much.
You’re watching Top Story on BC1. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is on his way back to Earth, after commanding the International Space Station for five months. His main task was to perform more than 100 science experiments in space. Looking at changes to the spine, bone density, and nutrition.
But Hadfield also became an extra-planetary media star. While in space, Hadfield tweeted photos, talked to school children, he strummed his guitar, and he provided videos about the daily life of the space station. He bid farewell today, with his own version of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded it at the Space Station. He then posted it to YouTube.
In the process, Hadfield created a surge of interest in science and space, particularly among young people, all through his use of Twitter. For more on Chris Hadfield, and his use of social media, we are joined in studio by Matt Astifan, he is the founder of Web Friendly, a Vancouver strategic social media training company. Matt, thanks so much for being here. Thank you.
This must be a dream come true for you, following such a campaign. Even if you weren’t a space junkie, I think many new space junkies were created,
by Chris Hadfield. Yeah, that’s really interesting, I mean, we’ve seen a lot of space, and NASA, using a lot of social media lately. It’s really interesting to see how they’re using social media to educate the public, especially the younger youth, in getting them more interested in space.
So, what was it about Chris Hadfield, though? He’s clearly a likeable guy. People are growing mustaches, so they look like him now. But what was it about his particular use of Twitter, and YouTube, and connecting with school kids, that really resonated with people?
What I believe it is, was that he was using the reality show method, which a lot of social media campaigns use. I don’t know whether or not he ever had any formal training around it, when you just broadcast whatever you’re doing in your daily life, it usually creates this engagement, and if you’re doing something interesting, like in space, there’s nothing really more interesting than that, and it creates this engagement, and I think that happens in peoples’ everyday lives. We go out, and we end up doing cooler things, people go on social media, and share with their friends. And I think it just makes society want to do cooler things, so, he’s just using the method of creating a reality show.
Is that one of the downfalls of social media, though? In that people will update their Facebook, saying “I just had toast”, or will tweet a picture of themselves brushing their teeth. Well, nobody cares about that. But if it’s Chris Hadfield doing it, then we all clamber aboard, and want to see it.
I think the opposite. I think the idea, of, like, ‘I’m eating a chicken sandwich’, ‘I took a picture’, ‘I’m going to share with my friends’, I think it’s those little moments that really create the personality of anybody.
And Chris is an exceptionally interesting person, because he’s in space. So, even the little things that he’s doing, they’re exceptionally more interesting, that’s why I’m sure he’s created such a large following. But when anybody does it, whether they’re in business, or personal, that’s really what creates a great campaign. I mean, I talk about it a lot, when I do my social media training. It’s the little moments that make the big difference.
And everyone’s always looking for this huge strategy, that we use. But, it’s just creating a reality show out of what you are doing, as yourself, or in your business. When you talk about ‘little moments’, as well, I know I was certainly one of the many people when I saw the picture from space.
The house, the farm where I grew up. I was in awe. I was going, ‘Hoh: Chris Hatfieldt took a picture of my family home!’ And I think everybody was, again, looking to see his pictures, and not only trying to find out where you were, but where everybody else in the world was, it’s just such a different perspective.
Yeah. It was really interesting. Whoever creates the most content, or the richest content, and then shares it at the highest frequency, will create the largest network. And that’s exactly what he was doing, because he had this unique content that he was sharing, and sharing on a very frequent basis.
And especially, it was on YouTube and stuff, where he was actually bringing together educational videos, for students, and engaging them in that way.
Now, you teach social media, and social media topics. Did he do anything wrong? Could he have captivated more people?
Ah, no, I think what he was doing was great, social media campaigns always have these different types of elements, so what he used was the reality show method, and he also used the key influencer, and personalized interaction. So, he was interacting with his audience, and using the way they were helping him to create the content, when they would make music videos with him, etc.; and then key influencers, like getting William Shatner on interview, right?
I don’t know how much William Shatner really has to do with space, that was kind of funny, right? But it created this huge engagement, that’s what really kind of skyrocketed on engagement.
The personal interaction and the key influencer, mixed with this ongoing reality show that he had, so these are very common traits that we see, in social media campaigns, maybe all the major campaigns, have used those three elements. And what about the use of kids? I mean, he did a lot of interactive chats with children. But other than their parents, do people really tune in and want to hear what little kids have to say when they’re talking to an astronaut?
I think so. I mean, when you think about like when we’re younger, a lot of us want to go to space, or be astronauts, and I think it’s great. I feel, I mean, it’s just my own opinion, that space kind of got less interesting over the last decade, or something, I don’t know if that’s true, I just kind of noticed.
So, now, it’s kind of getting picked up, and all these kids are saying they want to be astronauts again, I think that’s great, and I think what he’s trying to do is making it that way, so that there’s a lineup of people that want to go spend five or six months in space doing this. Because, I believe, back in the day, it was a bit harder to find people to be able to spend longer periods of time in space. And, so I believe that was his goal, was trying to build awareness, and recruit more astronauts, who would want to spend more time in space. Which is just fascinating. Although there are people now, who also want to go on that one-way trip to Mars. So, I guess there are more people interested in it.
Yeah, yeah. I think that’s a little bit suicidal, but, yeah. And he ended it, to which I thought was perfect for Chris Hadfield, I don’t know if you saw the photo, but it was, it looked like a sunset, but he said no, ‘it’s a new dawn’. I thought, ‘what a perfect way to end it’. Yeah, it was great.
All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us, and sharing your expertise with us.
Thank you to Matt Astifan, of Web Friendly, for being with us tonight.