Al Whitaker, Media Relations Director at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, saw my post from yesterday critiquing the Space Center for mixing politics into its social media efforts and has swiftly taken action to rectify the situation!
As requested, here is his response, reposted here in full:
Touché! Your editorial, “Politics and Social Media”, was unfortunately right on the mark and deserving of an explanation.
We have, as of late, been making more of an effort to engage the social media channels as a means of communicating with our campers, customers and those like you and I, who love the space program. For me personally, Facebook has become something of a hobby as well as a means of connecting with old friends, some business associates and posting an occasional rant or news item about current events.
Some time before the Space Center officially embraced the idea, several of us, independently and on our own accord, started our own Space Camp or Space & Rocket Center page with the idea of promoting the Center and its programs. In addition to creating the U.S. Space & Rocket Center page on Facebook, I also had, at one time, a Space Camp page. However, I focused my efforts on my personal page and the other pages I created just basically sat there.
Several months ago, our Marketing Department began making an organized and concerted effort to create a presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter, and there are now several employees here who’s job it is to frequently check and update those sites as necessary. In fact, one of them used Twitter extensively from the Kennedy Space Center this week to update followers on the launch of STS-131 and our first Space Camp grad to fly in space. I was asked, and readily agreed several months ago to relinquish my Space Camp page to the Center in an effort to avoid confusion and have only one official Space Camp page on Facebook. Today, I’m proud to say, it’s thriving! Unfortunately, at that time no thought was given to my other page.
Late this week, one of our computer gurus sat down with me to help iron out a couple of Facebook issues and we found the U.S. Space & Rocket Center page I had created. Being reminded it was there is why only one update has been posted to the page since its creation, and that was the update on the moonbuggy races Friday.
So, as of yesterday, Andrew, the computer guru I mentioned, is one of the administrators of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center page on Facebook, and other employees will be added next week as this becomes one of our official pages. The favorite page you referenced has been removed because as you correctly pointed out, sitting all alone as it was it seemed inappropriate and quite one-sided. Fact is, that’s not the place for political statements or endorsements of any kind and none will follow.
Vince, I honestly appreciate you bringing this to our attention so the appropriate action could be taken. This page is in its infancy and it’s my hope we can further develop it into a tool that will promote interest in Space Camp, the Space Center, its programs and exhibits, and for that matter the manned space flight program in general. I hope you will continue to monitor our efforts and bring any other concerns to our attention. If I may ask, would you consider posting this to your website so that others who read your original post will have our explanation, also. Thank you.