On Monday night the crew of Expedition 35 at the International Space Station touched back down on Earth for the first time in five months. Among the crew was Commander Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut that some call “the first man to master social media in space.”
Five months ago Chris Hadfield headed to the ISS, but never really lost contact with us here back on terra firma. Commander Hadfield kept in touch by using social media to wow the world with the things he was doing up in space. Whether it was his tweets, his pictures from space, his YouTube videos and anything else he sent back down to Earth, the world was enthralled by it.
Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I took a look at the impact that Chris Hadfield had on the social media world.
I started by looking for all mentions of Hadfield by name or his Twitter screen name for the past 6 months. In that time I found him mentioned over 1.7 million times across social media. There were 14,956 blog posts, 29,689 online news articles, 11,921 forum postings and 1,680,939 tweets about, to or from Hadfield.
On average, people were mentioning or talking to Commander Hadfield about 10,000 times per day while he was up in space. The giant spike we can see at the end of the six month period below was people watching and tweeting along with Hadfield and the other two crew members as they descended back to Earth.
While Hadfield was up there, he managed to capture the attention of the world through his social media communications from space. A look at where tweets about the Commander came from shows that people around the world were talking to and about him over his five month stay at the space station. Below is a pie chart that shows where mentions of Hadfield were coming from. And below that is a world map plotting out where tweets about him were coming from.
What’s most amazing about most of this is that Chris Hadfield just got into social media right before his trip thanks to some convincing from his kids. Now the astronaut boasts over 842,000 followers on Twitter. With all of the tweets he sent back to the planet he wowed and amassed his large following over his five months in space.
His Twitter handle, @Cmdr_Hadfield, was mentioned 1.5 million times during his trip as well.
I also looked up some of the most retweeted tweets either from or aimed at Commander Hadfield.Five of the top six tweets were sent from Hadfield himself. Most of them were amazing videos and pictures (like the one below) that he beamed down for us from space. The fifth most RT’d tweet was the first one he sent once he had touched back down on Earth.
Tonight’s finale: Northern Lights – recent aurora in green and red waves, USA and Canada below, the universe above. twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/…
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) February 11, 2013
Not only did Commander Hadfield mange to rack up an impressive Twitter following, but he also did the same on YouTube. The Commander started a YouTube channel where he would beam back videos of things he was doing up in space including answering questions that us common folks had about things worked in space. His most popular video though was his last one from the station where he gives us one last look at the station while singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The video was only posted a few days ago and has already racked up over 11 million views.
Commander Hadfield utilized social media to capture the attention of the entire world while he wasn’t even on it. He gave us all a chance to experience something that most of us will never get a chance to do ourselves (although I hope that’s not true). He truly was the first man to master social media in space. But let’s hope he wasn’t the last.