Aug 17 2015

NASA Adds Tumblr to Its Impressive Social Media Arsenal

Joining the microblogging site could be a brilliant engagement and growth decision by the agency.

NASA's deep, extensive media catalogue of rocket launches, space shuttles and astronaut training is tailor-made for social media domination. The federal agency has been heralded as a leader not only within the federal government but even among private sector brands as an innovator and leader in social media management and strategy. And now, the agency will extend its social prowess to leap into previously uncharted territory: Tumblr.

Opening a Tumblr account earlier this month gave NASA another platform to share images and videos, thus allowing the agency to expand its online presence. As a platform that thrives on eye-grabbing visuals that users can share with ease, Tumblr is an ideal outlet for NASA. John Yembrick, NASA’s social media manager, is confident that Tumblr will be a powerful resource in supporting NASA’s outreach initiative.

“Platforms that allow us to showcase the amazing imagery fit really well into our social media communications efforts,” Yembrick told NextGov. “We want people to be aware of what we’re doing, and we also want them to care, and showing them what Pluto looks like for the first time or seeing the Earth through the eyes of an astronaut in space are good examples.”

Tumblr also allows NASA to simplify processes like the testing of an RS-25 engine for its audience by combining GIFs and video with infographics. Furthermore, it lets NASA steer an audience to its other platforms. One post about a Perseid meteor shower explained the event’s magnitude, then directed the audience to its video library and UStream channel to watch it.

In addition to its primary account, NASA has created three mission-specific Tumblr accounts. One will feature content from Mars via the Curiosity rover, another tracks the JunoCam as it documents a NASA voyage to Jupiter, and the last is dedicated to astronaut Peggy Whitson. Her page will be controlled by NASA’s Houston-based Johnson Space Center. A social media team will control the main account from NASA’s headquarters in Washington D.C., and the Curiosity and JunoCam pages will be run by social media teams devoted to those missions.


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