A plucky youngster was out walking the streets of New York with his father when he came across Brandon Stanton, the photojournalist behind the ultra-popular blog Humans of New York. Stanton, who has become extremely popular for his slice-of-life profiles of people he meets on the street, took a picture of the boy and asked him about his life goals. The reply was so cute, you'll plotz.
My dad goes all over the world and learns about the news. One time he met a king. I want to be a reporter too. If I was a reporter right now, I’d probably write a story about if NASA was going to launch a new rocket into space. I’d start by going to the Director of NASA. Then I’d ask him about his rockets. And if any of them were going to space.
Of course, a gem like that is more than enough to go viral on a Humans of New York Facebook post. And go viral it did—so much so that NASA's publicity-starved PR team got wind of it. The agency, which has become very social media-savvy in the last few years as its funding has dwindled, was quick to reply to the boy's questions.
We *are* going to launch a new rocket into space! We're developing NASA's Space Launch System to be the world's most powerful rocket and launch NASA's Orion Spacecraft into deep space, first to lunar orbits then eventually farther on the journey to Mars.
NASA's response is brilliant for two reasons: for one, it means that the kid's dream has already come true, and he's basically a journalist interviewing NASA already. Two, it educates the public on what the agency is up to, using a platform that people actually care about: Facebook.
But NASA isn't the first public figure or organization to comment on HONY for free publicity. In the past, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have both been active in the comments section. It really works, too– NASA's comment on the post already has more than 87,000 likes, and the original post has more than 316,000, along with nearly 6,000 shares.
Kudos to NASA for making a kid's day, and kudos to that kid for being a journalism prodigy and giving NASA its best publicity in months! This is the most heartwarming kind of synergy.