When mohawks matter

We watched the Mars Curiosity landing tonight at http://www.nasa.gov. It was fascinating to see cool professionalism erupt into tears and cheers when a one-ton, nuclear-powered vehicle sent back the first picture from the surface of Mars. It all happened four miles away at JPL in our hometown of Pasadena. We even knew a controller in the room (that’s Miguel with the flag).

Sure, this wasn’t the first time we’ve landed there, but last time we bounced on the surface inside a wad of bubble wrap, like a package falling off the back of a UPS truck. This time, we arrived with remarkable precision, guided by rockets and lowered by the ‘Sky Crane’.

Twitter was ablaze with comments about the Mars landing. In the midst of the excitement, the social public seized on the guy the cameras continuously swept past with the mohawk haircut. We’ve come a long way from Houston Control’s crewcuts and horned rim glasses.

It started as comments, but soon his Twitter account (@tweetsoutloud) was ‘discovered’ and published broadly. It was only minutes before his Instagram account was likewise revealed. He was from that point known as “Mohawk Guy.”

He added thousands of followers in the first few minutes of his new-found fame. We’re living in an age where things move amazingly quickly…where a guy with a Mohawk suddenly becomes a parallel story to the most amazing technical achievement of our time. He had a meme within minutes.

What’s the point? We live in a radically different world than just a decade ago. Anything is possible. Anything can become hot or just as quickly cold. And Mohawks matter…ask his 17,000 Twitter followers (and counting).

When he was ‘discovered’, his social footprint, mostly obscure before that moment, was suddenly there for everyone to see. What we saw was a humble, smart scientist focused on his work even in his personal world of tweeting. I’m pretty sure he never saw this coming and therefore we saw Mohawk Guy as he really is. Are we all so ready for that moment? Should we be?

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Categories: Featured, Social / Collaboration

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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3 Comments on “When mohawks matter”

  1. August 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    I regularly curate privacy settings and Google my name and internet handles every so often to make sure unwanted personal information isn’t readily available for this exact reason. You never know whadd’ll happen, better safe than sorry.

    • Jeanne Roué-Taylor
      August 7, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

      A good plan…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. NASA showed us being human is great marketing | Successful Workplace - August 10, 2012

    […] dress shirts of Houston Control were replace by blue polos with over-sized logos. There was even a guy with a mohawk and another that looked like a hippy rocker. There were […]

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