Jason Townsend Online space communicator by day who craves good friends, food + wine by night

Jason Townsend Online
“Tweeting from Space” – Government Executive Magazine

From Twitter to Foursquare checkins to Mohawk Guy, it seems everything viral coming from federal government traces back to one agency: NASA.

Jason Townsend, deputy social media manager for the agency and overseer of its 460 social media accounts, says the trend is no coincidence. “It’s been part of our ethos since day one to share as much information as we can,” he says. “There’s no argument about should we be doing it. It’s just a matter of ‘how should we do it?’ ”

NASA’s most recent foray into social media has been a resounding success, with its Curiosity Rover that recently touched down on the surface of Mars drawing more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter. Account updates narrate day-to-day activities of the rover from a firstperson perspective.

Townsend says the popularity of NASA’s Twitter feed—and all its social media enterprises—is rooted in “great content,” but the key to its viral growth is engagement. “We have to be an active part of that conversation,” he says. “It’s not a broadcast mechanism, it’s a twoway conversation.”

His team tries to encourage comments and reply to as many Tweets as possible to show “there are humans behind this, not a nameless, faceless agency,” Townsend adds. Mohawk Guy, a.k.a. Bobak Ferdowsi—the quirky mission control staffer whose hairstyles went viral—is one of them.

Despite NASA’s online success, Townsend says social media is a “constant evolution” and the agency must always be forward-looking. “We are going to try to find the next big platform . . . we can effectively communicate on,” he says, adding the one key question is: “How can we effectively share what NASA has going on with as many people as we possibly can?”

 Read more on page 42 of the December, 2012 issue at: http://digimag.govexec.com/publication/?i=135148&p=42

Comments are closed.

About Me
Jason is an industry leader in communications with over 14 years of experience in strategic and innovative use of digital tools, social media messaging and website content. Now leading efforts in NASA's strategic communications, he's previously directed the efforts of and executed some of the largest Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts across those platforms, working on projects that have earned Emmy awards, Shorty Awards for best use of social media and Webby Awards for best corporate use of social media and websites. He is currently a communications program manager at NASA where he is responsible for leading the planning, development and implementation of strategic communications efforts across the agency.
Find Me
@jtowns on Twitter
Jason Townsend on Facebook
Jason Townsend on LinkedIn
Jason Townsend on Instagram
Jason Townsend on Google+
Jason Townsend on FourSquare
Jason Townsend on Flickr
Jason Townsend on Yelp
Jason Townsend on NASA Blogs
Jason Townsend on Vine
Jason Townsend on TripIt
Contact Me
Located just off H Street
Washington, D.C. 20002

[email protected]