It took nine years for the New Horizon spacecraft to reach Pluto – and far less than an hour for NASA to demonstrate the power and reach of Instagram. For a full hour before NASA shared the first Pluto image through their website, it was available through Instagram. They were an instant hit, with hundreds of thousands of people liking and sharing the image, which shows a prominent light-colored heart shape on the planet’s surface.
There has been some discussion about whether NASA, a publicly funded agency, should allow any private business, such as the Facebook-owned Instagram, exclusive early access to its imagery. What’s inarguable, however, is the appeal of the sneak peek.
Knowledge becomes sweeter when we acquire it before anyone else we know. When we know something first, we gain a form of social currency; it is more prestigious to be the disseminator of information than the recipient of it. Gossip and insider trading are both examples of people gaining a competitive advantage by acting on information prior to it becoming common knowledge; on one hand the leg up is social, in the other, financial.
People turn to social media because they want to know things – and if they know things first, so much the better. The Pew Internet and American Life project has documented the increasingly important role Facebook and Twitter have as news sources; NASA has now made it clear that Instagram is a viable player in the breaking news game as well.
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, which was at 7:49 a.m. EDT Tuesday – about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth. 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. Images from closest approach are expected to be released on Wednesday, July 15. Image Credit: NASA #nasa #pluto #plutoflyby #newhorizons#solarsystem #nasabeyond #science
Nasa’s Image of Pluto
If you’re using Instagram as part of your digital marketing strategy, ask yourself if you’re fully leveraging it as a platform for sneak peeks. You might not be the first to fly over a distant planet’s surface, but you can be the first to show off a designer’s look in your region, or the first to introduce a new product, or to see what your business renovation looks like before anyone else sees it. Sharing that information with your Instagram followers can generate buzz and excitement well in advance of any official pronouncements you may make.