Social Conversation Soars Around Discovery’s Final Voyage

Discovery SoarsThe most-journeyed craft of the US space fleet, the Space Shuttle Discovery, made its final flight yesterday and social media took notice.

The veteran vessel (it has over 148 million miles on its odometer) was on its way to Washington from Florida, bound for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The Discovery drove over 81,000 social media mentions on April 17 as it made its way north on its final journey.

Trend Lines and Demographics

Space Shuttle Discovery conversation peeked between 9am and 10 EST. The #SpotTheShuttle hashtag peeked at that hour as it leads the conversation with 7,933 posts.


Males led the Discovery conversation accounting for almost 60% of collected posts.  The 25-34 year old demo has a slight lead over their slightly older counterparts in terms of conversation breakdown. The younger demographics appear to have little interest in the space program, no doubt to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s chagrin.


Conversation Drivers

@NASA was the most retweeted handle, by a wide margin. The Smithsonian is next, followed by Emily’s List media person Alison McQuade. Also amongst the movers and shakers are the Huffington Post and Washington Post, MSNBC’s Alan Boyle and Smithsonian’s Kate Wiley.


Photo Op!

Social media was ablaze with photos of Discovery as it journeyed to its final destination.  Amongst the most retweeted usernames above, both NASA’s Photo Department and billion-dollar photo-sharing app Instagram crack the top 10.

As the rise of Pinterest and the recent Facebook purchase of Instagram have taught us, social media users are drawn to powerful images.  The Discovery conversation is just another example of how much we love a great visual.  Indeed, mentions of “photo”, “photos”, “picture” and “pic” combined for over 10,000 posts within our topic profile.

Did you weigh in on the Discovery conversation yesterday? Have you incorporated imagery and photographs into your brand’s social media activities? Tell us about it in the comments! And be sure to check out our post on awesome ways to showcase your brand with Instagram.

(Note: This post originally appeared on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud blog on April 18, 2012.)

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.


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