Mar 9, 2011

NASA TweetUp for Dummies

So I'm going to my very first TweetUp and, in true Pookie fashion, it's a doozie.  Not just any old neighborhood tweetup, no, this tweetup is sponsored by NASA and is being held at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.  {insert girly-girl squeal here}

Entry is limited and by invitation request random(?) selection.  OK, I don't really know how entry was granted.  I know thousands wanted to go, only 100 were chosen, one of which was me.  I like to think it's my good looks, but I think my sidekick might have had something to do with it.  See, each person who entered for an invitation could enter to bring a guest and I entered a cute and adorable fourth grader to be my guest.   So my guest, Bryson and I will skip school/work next week and head to Washington.  We are very excited, but feel a little stupid to say we're going to a TweetUp  so we just say we have a meeting at NASA HQ in DC as if we do it every month or something, adding  "Hey, Bryson, don't forget your briefcase" and Did you pack my power-suit?? and stuff like that......

I've always wanted to go to a tweetup and Bryson always wanted to meet an astronaut.  It's fate, right, like chocolate meets peanut butter?  Bryson and several other public school students submitted questions for a certain astronaut to answer while he was orbiting the earth on the ISS, driving the thing, actually, but said astronaut got too busy texting, tweeting and gps-ing the ISS that he forgot to answer our questions and next thing you know he was being carried across a Russian field in a recliner with a "hi mom" sign, our questions unanswered.

Now where was I?  Ah yes, chocolate meets peanut butter.  Bryson and I will road trip (cue the Born to be Wild music) to Washington DC with his and the other students' questions and again present them to said astronaut.  But this is way more than a Q&A session, folks, this is a tweetup.  We will meet other NASA personnel and other NASA fans who like to tweet.  A lot of tweeting will be going on. We might even tweet each other as we walk across the room. Security-Cleared, NASA-HQ-Top-Priority Tweeting, tweeting about some serious stuff.   None of this "I just had a boiled egg" stuff or "Going to the grocery store, meh" stuff.   

The TweetUp {noun, tweet'up, 1. a meeting of two ore more people who know each other through the Twitter short messaging service, 2. a meeting or gathering organized by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter.} (now a legal word for Scrabble) is NASA's really cool new effort for peeps tweeps to "connect and collaborate with NASA" and results from a partnership between the elderly statesman we call NASA and the young, hip sort-of smart-alec cool kid on the block we call Foursquare.  This strange alliance came about when aforementioned astronaut Douglas Wheelock (@Astro_Wheels) became the first person to "check in" from space.
 (Check-in is what the really cool and popular kids geeks do on their mobile devices by using Foursquare.  The one who "checks in" the most at a location becomes Mayor.  I don't think Doug is Mayor of outerspace yet, but I bet he's eyeballing it.  Oh, also?  You can earn badges with Foursquare, too, it's like Boy Scouts for Geeks.  Here is Doug's Badge for checking-in from space.   Image credit: Foursquare

Now where was I?  Doug checked in from space, earning the NASA Explorer Badge, and receiving this instant message from Foursquare:
"You are now 220 miles above Earth traveling at 17,500 mph and unlocked the NASA Explorer Badge! Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream." 
Thus launching (I know, right?!) not only a whole new line of ice-cream flavors, but also the Foursquare/NASA partnership where people can "check-in" to NASA sites and earn badges of their own while learning more & more about NASA endeavors, creating a most excellent image-transformation for NASA from the elderly, wise, snobby and boring old man to the fun, cutting-edge, high-tech and very approachable NASA that would have TweetUps where regular people tweeple get to mix and mingle chillax with astronauts and other NASA folks dudes.  And that's where Bryson and I come into the picture.  We're going to tweet our way to Washington and share jaw-dropping moments.

So, so SO much is going on at NASA -- the shuttle retirement, commercial space-flight development, incredible science experiments on the ISS that could will lead to sustainable human and robotic exploration of other planets, and so much more.  I'm really, really excited and honored to be able to meet some of NASA's finest, I really am speechless, despite the previous 790 words.

Mom - do you have a batch of cookies for me to take?  Astronauts love homemade cookies. 

Click here to learn more about a NASA TweetUp.
Click here to register for their next TweetUp which will be AT the launching of the Endeavor, but you have to have a Twitter account and be 18 and above to be eligible.


Mom said...

just pop in and pick them up on your way through!

Driftwood's Spouse said...

Val, oh speechless one,

You lost me right after the word TWEETUP in the first sentence. The eyes glazed over, the brain ground to a screeching halt. Only a few words filtered in. Words like COOKIES, ICE CREAM. NASA.

For all those people who complain that the space program is a waste of taxpayer money, they should get the word that COOKIES and ICE CREAM are biggies at NASA. So there!