Suddenly, the cold wastes of space seem a bit more human again.
If you aren’t following Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield on Twitter, Facebook, or through the Canadian Space Agency YouTube channel, go, now, and follow this man. Share his stuff. He’s doing more to inspire a generation of star-struck kids than anyone since Neil Armstrong or that Russian dog.
When I shared the Facebook update above, my old college buddy Lloyd responded with this:
Commander Hadfield is the best thing to happen to the Canadian space program since they put a bottle opener on the end of the Canadarm.
Actually the best thing to happen to space exploration period Lloyd. He’s the most articulate, personable, plugged-in astronaut ever. And he’s just so golly-gee-whiz THRILLED to be doing what he’s doing. It’s a nice change from the boring old business-as-usual.
And more importantly, he’s a storyteller. He’s a creative guy who shares his photos, his songs, and the wonders of weightless living with this incredibly, engagingly geeky, enthusiasm. It’s clear that he loves his job – and okay, that part is easy; he’s an astronaut after all. The thing he does better than anyone is bringing us along for the ride – and making us fall in love with space all over again.
But as great as all of that is, I wonder: How far beyond Canada’s borders is Col. Hadfield’s social media brilliance reaching? I’ll put the word out to some social media analytics gurus for their thoughts – updates to follow.
What are your favourite Hadfield moments? Please share links in the comments!
UPDATE Feb 13: So it seems pretty clear that Hadfield hasn’t broken out as an international phenomenon yet. I received this update from my friend, the digital monitoring ninja Mark Blevis. Of 120,934 tweets mentioning @cmdr_hadfield (Feb 1-today).
Update Feb 14: Well, after some back and forth with Mark, and Twitter input from Commander Hadfield’s son Evan, Mark’s blog post provides some more numbers that confirm Hadfield hasn’t reached the “Justin-Bieber-sphere” yet.
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 13, 2013