NASA nabs Shorty Award for social media use

Friday - 3/30/2012, 9:57am EDT

Bob Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for communications, NASA

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This week, NASA's communications team took home a Shorty Award — the Oscars of the social media world.

This is NASA's third Shorty, impressive considering the awards only started in 2009.

The space agency uses its Twitter account @NASA to link to the latest videos and still images, said Bob Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for communications at NASA.

"It's a great way to get [followers] engaged and visually see what it is that we do," Jacobs said in an interview with The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Emily Kopp.

NASA does not proactively try to increase followers, yet it currently has more than 2 million followers on Twitter. The process is more "organic," Jacobs said. Often, someone with an interest in NASA will share information with their followers, who will then share it with their followers.

"It's kind of a multiplier effect that happens over time," Jacobs said.

NASA does not have a so-called social media department. Communications staff tweet from the official account,and tweeting is incorporated into their everyday activities, he said.

"We encourage our employees to do the same, to get out there and talk about what's happening that's exciting within their offices," Jacobs said.

Beyond tweets, NASA has held tweet-ups, a kind of meeting or press conference on Twitter.

"The whole point is for [followers] to tweet and share what they've learned, what they see," Jacobs said.

Since 2009, NASA has held 34 tweet-ups, which have been, Jacobs said, "wildly successful."