#Apollo11: How Hashtags Defy Gravity
Today, July 20, 2017, marks the 48th anniversary of Apollo 11 — the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the moon. The culmination of the Space Race envisioned by President John F. Kennedy, this feat inspired future generations across the globe to think very big.
Fast forward to today, and information travels at warp speeds, which we could hardly imagine in 1969. We collectively dispatch 6,000 tweets per second, small bite-sized morsels of information that now have the power to move markets and establish geopolitical norms. How will humanity reflect upon this accomplishment 48 years from now? Time will tell.
An integral part of how we organize this deluge of communication is with #hashtags, of course (The history of them is interesting, and we’ll wait for you to read about it and come right back here.) As a clever way to thread conversations and ideas and connect and rally audiences, hashtags are here to stay. (Jimmy Fallon expertly bridges old and new media with them on a weekly basis.)
On the anniversary of a historic moon landing, how is humanity talking about #Apollo11, and what can we discover by taking a closer look at this hashtag?
A few influential people drive the conversation.
By taking a sample* of all tweets containing the #apollo11 hashtag, we at Echovo are able to generate visual intelligence to demonstrate the network effect of how information is spread on Twitter (Play with it yourself!) We can ask and answer fundamental questions, like:
Who is central to a conversation?
Where is the most amplification of tweets happening?
Who should you engage with on a particular topic?
Where is the activity around an idea really centralizing?
…and many more!
In this case, it ought to surprise no one that Buzz Aldrin himself attracted the most attention for his several tweets on the topic today:
A distant second and third place for activity goes to NASA and the Air And Space Museum. The US Mint is in there, as well as Relive Apollo 11, an enthusiast account. Interestingly, many of those accounts are triangulated by a connector — NASA Watch — an unofficial yet influential amplifier (77K followers as of this writing) of tweets from official sources. NASA Watch has been around since 2007, the dawn of Twitter.
Looking at the network graph more closely, there is a large constellation of other activity, but from sources that aren’t necessarily connected to one another through followers and retweets.
What does all of this mean to you? With careful analysis, you can cut through the noise of Twitter pretty easily and zero in on who matters for your message. Amplify the right people, and engage them meaningfully, and your influence will follow.
You can build a team to “connect the dots”
It’s been common practice for a decade to follow a certain amount of social-media etiquette (eg “follow for follow”) and while legions of bots have muddied the waters somewhat, there is no better way to handle this world than the one that preceded it — with authenticity and good manners. Take the messages you care about and want to see more of, and spread them around (that’s the intent of the retweet, after all!) Say things that add value to the conversation. Make conversations and follow people whose voices you care about. Relish in the power you have to engage nearly anyone in the world.
We fundamentally believe in authenticity and humanity. The bots will forever remain, but mobilizing real people in an orchestrated way will help you remain at the center of conversations that matter. And that is precisely what Echovo was designed to enable.
To the moon!