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150 Twitter users were selected, from over 2,500 entries, to attend NASA's STS-133 Discovery shuttle launch, with special access at the press site, and two days of programmed events -- meeting crew, talking to astronauts, exploring NASA -- and to top it all off, to view the launch from the countdown clock.
We formed an instant community (within hours of being selected) via Twitter, created a Google group, FB group, email lists, and 15 of us who had never met before rented a house, and started sharing space knowledge, social media knowledge, etc. 4 other shared houses came together. Our house, the Big House, was the hub of all activities. Never having met meant nothing to us. Our first night there we gathered (over 70 of the 150) and formed our space tweeps family.
Astronomers, scientists, NASA workers, digital storytellers, educators (k-12 and higher ed), videographers, all passionate about space.
The shuttle never launched. The communities which were formed out of this experience are still going strong. The entire week was broadcast on JustinTV by one of our colleagues -- sharing the entire NASA learning experience with thousands of folks. We're invited back to watch the launch when she's scheduled to go in February.
This was an amazing use of Social Media, and a perfect example of the power of these tools, and how they can be used to market, share, teach, grow, explore, inspire.
11th–15th March 2011