NASA took to Instagram to share the first surface photo of Pluto at 7 AM ET on 14th July’15. What was even unique, (apart from the mesmerising picture of Pluto), NASA announced that the same image would be shared officially on its website only an hour later.
SNEAK PEEK of gorgeous Pluto! The dwarf planet has sent a love note back to Earth via our New Horizons spacecraft, which has traveled more than 9 years and 3+ billion miles. This is the last and most detailed image of Pluto sent to Earth before the moment of closest approach – 7:49 a.m. EDT today. This same image will be released and discussed at 8 a.m. EDT today. Watch our briefing live on NASA Television at: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv The high res pic will be posted on the web at: http://www.nasa.gov. This stunning image of the dwarf planet was captured from New Horizons at about 4 p.m. EDT on July 13, about 16 hours before the moment of closest approach. The spacecraft was 476,000 miles (766,000 kilometers) from the surface. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #pluto #plutoflyby #newhorizons #solarsystem #nasabeyond #science
If Instagram was a person, it would be gloating right now.
There are two things to celebrate here. One, this is NASA’s closest shot of icy cold Pluto so far; two, a social media platform was the chosen stage for this grand debut.
By choosing a social media platform, NASA has created room for a larger audience base. Imagine, you and probably a million others would actually be scrolling down instagram on your way to work, while eating your breakfast, while commuting. NASA is banking on a scenario like this than people actually visiting their website to catch a glimpse of the image.
That one Instagram post is like a news snippet, giving you a fair explanation of the image, without going into complex jargon. Also, being a visual debut, Instagram was a clear winner.
Also, NASA has nothing to worry about when it comes to its popularity on Instatgram. With already 3.6 million users, NASA seems to have its act in place. If there was no reason to reiterate its popularity, why was Instagram the chosen one?
First thing that comes to mind is that Facebook had something to do with getting there first and breaking the news. It would bring every interested user to NASA’s Instagram account, than its website. It looks like NASA was targeting the on the move audience who are always active and up to date on going events.
In that case, Snapchat could have been an option too, but it would have reduced the audience base and its nature of dissolvable content wouldn’t have been favourable in this context.
Additionally, the implications that come off from NASA’s move are several.
Are social media platforms turning into news portals?
Is this a new trend in the offing?
News features directly published on social media platforms would be a big plus for its users which in turn would benefit the networking sites with users logged in for longer hours. However, the nature of news and also the nature of each platform must be taken into consideration to make this a regular yet impactful feature.
As for setting a new trend, what must be noted is the nature of the debut, powerful content like this will set a standard for itself on its own account.