Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Watching the Curiosity Rover Landing With Friends on Twitter

Sunday night I talked myself into staying up for the live coverage of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars.  I was up watching the Olympics anyway so why not stay up until 1:00 AM to see a little history.

I started up my Twitter feed and started watching the tweets about Curiosity.  Some were using the #NASAsocial hashtag and others were sharing links to websites with videos and information about the rover.  Some were commenting on the hairstyles of the engineers in the JPL - it was sort of like watching it with a group of friends at a local bar.

A tweet came across mentioning watching it live on the NASA app so I downloaded it on my iPad and started watching the broadcast live while I followed Twitter on my phone. It was educational.  It was historic. It was fun.

I know a lot of people that don't get Twitter.  My dad is one of them.  I have tried to explain it to him and he has tried to understand but he still doesn't really see how it is productive.  I was one of those people before I jumped in about 5 years ago and it started to click with me.  It doesn't really bother me when other don't get Twitter.  In fact, a part of me thinks it might be better if everyone doesn't get it because it would probably be less productive in some ways. 

For me, however, this little network of people that I talk with on Twitter and share ideas with does matter to me.  It means a lot to me and it has changed the way I think and experience things.  I watched a historic event on Sunday that I could have watched by myself but instead watched with others and it was a richer experience on Twitter.

After all the cheering and high fives at JPL calmed down, a tweet came across my Twitter feed.  I'm sorry that I didn't favorite it at the time but I thought about it a lot as I finally went off to bed for the night.  Someone said that it was interesting to see the difference in Facebook and Twitter.  During the Curiosity landing their Facebook feed was crickets and their Twitter feed was a party, hopping with comments and information.  I thought about that comment a lot since.  Twitter is something different. I'm sure that Twitter will exist in a completely different form two years from now so it's not about the tool but it is about how we are using the tools to share.  

Thanks to everyone who shared the moment with me as we all cheered a rover touching down over 350 million miles away and the men and women who made it all happen.  It was something I'll remember for a long time and it reaffirmed my belief in the power of Twitter.

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