NASA has a wide-reaching, highly strategic social media approach, that recently included offering an “exclusive” to Instagram. However, as a public agency, it has to carefully approach social media due to legal and ethical reasons. To discuss this fine line, WIRED
’s Nick Stockton interviewed PRSA member Frank Wellman
, CEO of the public relations firm ScoutComms
. Wellman is a retired Army public affairs officer who helped pioneer the branch’s social media strategy.
Wellman stated that government agencies like NASA can’t exhibit favoritism toward a private company, but can use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to deliver “news-like content.” He said the challenge for NASA is “avoiding revenue generation on your back.”
Wellman discussed additional issues with the agency focusing on social, rather than traditional, media. For example, Wellman said that social media helps agencies like NASA play to “superfans” rather than obtaining critical coverage. Wellman shared an example from his Army days: “We could put on the Army’s Facebook page that ‘Today we killed 20 Afghans in an accidental bombing’ and the superfans would respond with ‘Oh my God, I love America and soldiers and they’re amazing.'”
To read the full article
, which was published on WIRED
on July 23, 2015, visit the website.