Meteor Shower means NASA interactivity and reader engagement

Screenshot of NASA’s “Up All Night” webpage.

Kudos to NASA.  Huge meteor shower tonight.  It’s the Perseids and the scientists at the space agency say it will probably be the best show of the year.  Up to 100 shooting stars an hour.  Great.

So, how are they connecting with the public?  Live streaming of the sky (seriously) and they’re hosting an online chat with readers.

How smart is that?  NASA’s been way ahead of the game in the digital space.  I remember back in 1995, NASA had one of the few actually good websites in early Internet-land.  And they get a gold medal tonight.

Reader engagement

This evening’s effort is great.  Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center are answering questions from visitors and it’s very active.

Surprisingly, the live stream of the sky is really good too.  I’ve already seen two meteors.

NASA’s smart.  They realize there is tremendous interest in meteor showers.  Anyone who’s paid attention to what people search for know this.  Anytime there is a celestial happening, people go crazy for it.

Eclipse and Mars

Remember the eclipse a couple months ago?  Our traffic went through the roof because of our live coverage of it.  And the Mars Rover this past week?  Readers clamored for it.  The most viewed videos of the year so far have been our live video discussions on the Mars Curiosity Project.

Check out this screengrab from Google .  People want to know about this event more than anything else.  It’s the most searched-for phrase online.  No mistake.  People want information on the meteor shower.


NASA takes advantage of the interest and provides experts to answer real questions that people have.  Plus, their live streaming of the sky brings the meteor shower to people who can’t see it.  I can’t see it.  I might as well live on the sun.  The middle of L.A. really doesn’t mean great opportunities for star gazing (this kind, anyway).

Good move

The more NASA can interact with citizens, the better it is for them.  Same goes for us in the media industry.  We want readers to stay with us, we gotta interact with them.  It’s expected now.

That’s why I like what we’re doing.  We’ve really ramped up the efforts in our interactive department.  The audience is there.  We’re seeing it.  We just gotta keep doing it.

Follow me on Twitter @jimmyorr




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