In an ongoing effort to expand its audience, NASA has taken to Twitter to generate interest in its facilities and initiatives. NASA’s tweetups invite some of its followers via a lottery to come visit one of its facilities and learn more about the agency, according the Huffington Post. In exchange for the tour, participants are asked to narrate their day through tweets, photos and videos.
Because it is a random selection, the followers who are picked to visit are not necessarily the tech bloggers or influential media personalities one would expect to be given exclusive touring privileges of NASA centers. It could be your friend, neighbor or family member. In essence, that is what NASA wants.
If NASA simply sends out a press release or invites influential science bloggers for a tour, it may generate coverage. More likely than not, the coverage would only reach audiences who already have an active interest in the organization—it would do little to grab the attention of the ordinary citizen.
Through these tweetups, NASA has found a way to engage different audiences and then rely on them for their authentic voices on Twitter. It is an effective way to generate sincere interest and drive conversations—especially when the agency does not have its most celebrated program, the space shuttle, available to draw regular coverage and attract attention. And it doesn't hurt that, by fostering such conversations, NASA also manages to teach a thing or two to an audience that is ready and wants to listen.