In an era when the media whips itself into a frenzy over how to make things go viral, and marketers take their cues from big brands, a government entity has quickly and quietly become the darling of the internet.
Those searching for proof need look no further than this week’s Pluto flyby. After a 3-billion-mile (4.8-billion-km) journey that spanned nearly 10 years, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto and snapped the most detailed images of the dwarf planet ever taken—and the internet went bananas. NASA previewed one photo directly to Instagram, where it generated over 100,000 likes in only a few minutes. The New Horizons team’s “Ask Me Anything” skyrocketed to the front page of Reddit. If you were connected to the internet around 9am US eastern time on Tuesday, July 14, your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms were all Pluto, all the time.
How exactly NASA stumbled upon perhaps the greatest social-media…
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