NASA Web Strategy: Dazed and Confused (Update)

NASA JSC PAO Internal Memo: Space Station Live Placed on Hiatus

"However, in order to have the time to ensure that our products align to our ERO BHAG and align with the desires of our partners, we can't just keep piling on additional work. To that end, after extensive discussions, we're placing Space Station Live on hiatus at the end of the week. And, we're working with the ISS Program to consider other things as well - using a new, regular meeting where leaders from ERO and ISS share updates and collaborate together. For example, we'd use this forum to discuss a pilot effort where we support uncrewed vehicle launches, dockings and undockings differently--perhaps providing commentary only through social media."

Keith's update: I just got a call from NASA JSC PAO to clarify things. They are not looking to shut down the ISS live App or website - (the email was a little confusing) rather they are looking to halt the creation of an hour long daily update about ISS events and the weekly posting of a summary thereof. I asked if they had metrics on what their viewership/readership was and they said that they were not allowed to track such information. This is odd given how much NASA just loves to crow about the number of people who visit their websites. No attempt has been - or apparently will be - made to ask users/viewers of these discontinued features as to whether they like things, if things can be improved - and how. Rather, they will just shut things off and see who (if anyone) complains. As for the use of the word "partners" JSC PAO tells me that this refers to internal partners at JSC.

To be certain, it is good that NASA periodically revisits the things that it does - especially when funds are tight - to see if they are offering the best value to their audience based on their needs and interests. I am just baffled as to why NASA spends so little time actually talking to - or consulting with - actual audience members before they make these decisions. Charlie Bolden loves to babble on about "metrics" when it comes to how he makes decisions about NASA education programs. But in reality NASA has very few audience metrics when it comes to its overall education and public outreach. And when they do have metrics, they just ignore them or bungle their interpretation of what the metrics are saying.

As for my rant about JPL's three websites for MSL. I still think that such efforts are wasteful. Back to my vacation.

Keith's Note: There is no other website like this at NASA - so they shut it down so as to "align with the desires of our partners"? I'm sorry, but who cares what ESA, NASDA, et al think about a nasa.gov website for a program disproportionately funded by the U.S.? While making a decision to go from 1 website to zero websites in this case, NASA still funds 3 websites for MSL [1, 2, 3]. Go Figure.

There is no agencywide strategic thought in evidence whatsoever when it comes to PAO, outreach, or web presence. Everyone does whatever they want - all while Charlie Bolden hasn't the time to bring order to this chaos because that might upset people. As for the NASA Advisory Council subcommittee chartered to advise on this topic? Yawn. Let me know when they actually do something.

- Space Station Live
- NASA Advisory Council Education and Public Outreach Committee Meeting

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on July 22, 2013 6:15 PM.

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