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Internet Policies

Mars Phoenix Surges In Twitter Popularity

By Keith Cowing
June 2, 2008

Editor’s 31 May 11 pm EDT update: The MarsPhoenix Twitter feed now has 11,667 followers whereas the Twitter feeds for Twitter’s Co-founder Biz Stone only has 11,178, Stephen Colbert has 10,593 followers, and Gen Y techie favorite Wil Wheaton (Star Trek actor) has 11,270 followers.

Editor’s 1 June 12 am EDT update: One hour later and there are now 12,119 followers. That’s nearly a 5% increase in just one hour.

Editor’s 1 June 12 pm EDT update: Now up to 13,970 followers. Twitterholic now ranks it at 20th most popular.

Editor’s 2 June 12 am EDT update: Now up to 15,038 followers. While the Twitterholic ranking has not been updated, this number of followers would rank it at around 14. At this growth rate MarsPhoenix will break into the top ten in a matter of days – and all of the great science news has just started to arrive.

Editor’s 2 June 12 pm EDT update: Its now up to 15,626 followers. Twitterholic shows it ranked as the 14th most popular Twitter feed. Next big hurdle: passing CNN Breaking News (cnnbrk) with 20,330 followers.

Earlier posts below

Wired Science Scores Exclusive Twitter Interview with the Phoenix Mars Lander, Wired

Ten News & Information Twitter Feeds You Should Follow, Silicon Valley Insider

Mars Lander is a Web Star, MSNBC

“NASA Watch’s Keith Cowing says the space agency should be making more of a fuss over Phoenix’s Twitter presence, but McGregor said she’ll stick with the viral approach for now. “This is a Twitter audience,” she told me. “I’m going to keep it pure and simple.”

Phoenix to Earthlings: I’ve Landed! Awesome, NY Times

“Whoever thought a NASA spacecraft could be so adept at social networking and Web 2.0? For users of Twitter, a Web microblogging service, the Phoenix Mars lander has been sending pithy news “tweets” to the cellphones and computers of interested “followers.”

Editor’s 31 May 12 am EDT update: Someone reads NASA Watch, it would seem ….

Editor’s 26 May 10 pm EDT note: If you go to Twitterholic you will see that the MarsPhoenix Twitter feed is ranked 63rd in terms of followers (over 6,818 as I post this). This is interesting when you consider that it only went online on 13 May! Check out its growth rate.

Editor’s 27 May 9 am EDT update: Its list of followers grew to 7,424 overnight and its ranking jumped to 42.

Editor’s 28 May 9 am EDT update: There are now 8,351 followers an the rank has moved to 37.

Editor’s 29 May 8 pm EDT update: There are now 9,230 followers and the rank has moved to 30. I still don’t understand why this Twitter feed is not listed on all press releases or mentioned on all of NASA’s and University of Arizona’s websites. Given the vast amount of web traffic these sites are getting – and NASA’s avowed interest in reaching out to younger people – this is truly a missed opportunity.

Editor’s 30 May 11 pm EDT update: There are now 9,636 followers and the rank has stayed at 30. That said, this is pretty incredible given that the Twitter feed has only been online for 2 weeks! More importantly, NASA is now making an effort to link to the page. Meanwhile the human behind this Twitter feed continues to do a stellar job interacting with the public.

Phoenix space probe more popular than punk rock, The Great Beyond – Nature

“Yesterday NASA Watch noted that the twitter feed for NASAs Phoenix probe was proving immensely popular and was then standing at number 63 in the Twitterholic rankings. By the time I checked in today it had risen to 42, crushing former Black Flag-man Henry Rollins under its gently settling robot feet.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.