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Sitting in a tin can: Chris Hadfield returns

18 May 2013 No Comment

This week we saw  the return from space of Astronaut Chris Hadfield who is now arguably one of the most famous Canadians the world has ever known, thanks to Twitter.

He’s the commander of the international space station and has been in orbit since last fall.  His use of Twitter is a space PR coup rivalled only by the antics of Landon Percival, a fictional character who goes to the space station after winning a lottery in Up and Down, the best-selling novel written by my colleague Terry Fallis.

Astronaut Chris A. Hadfield Mission Specialist...

Astronaut Chris A. Hadfield Mission Specialist Canadian Space Agency (CSA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hadfield boasts more than 751,000 Twitter followers, more than half million YouTube views and has a Klout score of 86.

He uses social media to share photographs from space and shares his experiences of life on the space station as they happen.  He’s taken questions from school children and even had a tweetchat with Captain Kirk, Canadian actor William Shatner and a hero to space geeks the world over.

Canadians, and people around the globe, are more than engaged…they are enthralled. They feel as though they have been part of the mission and they adore Hadfield for taking them along.

As a public relations venture, Commander Chris Hadfield’s mission is an unqualified success for the Canadian Space Agency and for science in general, thanks to Twitter.

But was Twitter good for Chris Hadfield’s PR or was the commander better for Twitter’s?

At a time when the the world’s second favourite social network is courting the corporate world in its bid to establish a viable monetization strategy, Hadfield has reawakened some of the excitement created in the the early days of Twitter and he did it by tweeting in the moment.

He is at once engaging, entertaining, educating, personable and fun. He is himself. He is real.

He has lifted his message and his followers above the white noise of endless boring auto tweets to demonstrate the real power of 140 characters….to show, to tell, to teach and to engage.

Thank you Commander Hadfield for taking us with you and sharing the most incredible adventure. Thank you reminding us of the magic of social media.

This article was originally posted on Thornley Fallis.

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