HR Strange But True!
January 27, 2010

Your employees--and your marketing department--are probably asking to Twitter and use other social media, if they haven't started already. You might be concerned about all kinds of issues--technical and employment-related--especially for employees who work offsite. Well, what if your workers are really offsite, well actually in orbit?

This is the consideration that NASA had when it began allowing astronauts on the space shuttles and International Space Station to Twitter from space. The first astronaut to Twitter, Mike Massimino, sent his Tweets from the shuttle Atlantis down to Mission Control, where engineers then posted them on Twitter, according to Computer World .

However, since then, NASA has set up wireless (now that's an understatement) connections allowing for the first original digital message from outer space by Space Station flight engineer T.J. Creamer: “Hello Twitterverse! We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station--the 1st live tweet from Space :)”

This upgrade in technology not only allows astronauts to answer questions from followers, but they can also use the Web, videoconference, and send private email to relatives and colleagues in real time. NASA hopes this enhances quality of life issues for astronauts, especially those on missing of long-duration.

Yes, we know what just popped into your mind as an HR professional--this could allow the threat of divulging proprietary information (or secrets of vital national security), inadvertent posting of personal information, unintentional disparaging of colleagues or the employer, monitoring issues, etc., etc.

Don't worry! According to, these astronaut-tweeters will be subject to the same computer-use guidelines as other government employees under Office of Personnel Management policies. Down the road, if astronaut support is outsourced to private companies, as has been rumored, then some new social media policies may be needed.

You can follow Astronaut Creamer at and the International Space Station feed at .

For Earth-bound news about Human Resources, follow :)

Sources: Mashable, Computer World, and

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