Social Networking from the Outer Space

If you think it’s becoming an increasingly humdrum affair to stay connected with your friends from the confines of your four walls, you can look forward to amble in the outer space for future social networking.

Strange but true. This is done by NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock who became the first person to “check in” from space Friday using the mobile social networking application Foursquare.

With over 500 million global users connected with different social networking sites, this online phenomenon has been spreading its tentacles on all parts of the planet earth. And now it has touched the space.

The social networking popularity has even attracted leading movie makers. In The Social Network film, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin have tried to depict the moment at which Facebook, the world’s leading social hangout on the Net, was created. (Read: Why Do We Need a Movie on Facebook?)

Now services are being offered to teach social networking etiquette to users. Physicians Formula, which offers advice in bronzing and color correction, is ready to help women use tools that keep them looking great on social networks.

So whether Tweeting or Facebooking is your full time obsession, or if an eHarmony.com or LinkedIn membership is on the horizon, checking out the new Physicians Formula Profile Guide can be the initial step before uploading any profile pictures, it says. (Read: Cat and Rat No More, Put Your Own Pretty Pic)

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Let’s re-enter the space. Wheelock’s check in to the space station launches a partnership between NASA and Foursquare to connect its users to the space agency, enabling them to explore the universe and discover Earth, says NASA.

The partnership also features a customized section of the Foursquare website for NASA, where the agency will provide official tips and information about the nation’s space program in locations throughout the United States.

“NASA’s work ranges from proving flight technologies to exploring the universe,” said Bob Jacobs, deputy associate administrator for communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“Partnering with Foursquare allows NASA to connect directly with the people who visit our locations and share with them the interesting things that happen at each place.”

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When Wheelock checked in to the space station venue using Foursquare’s mobile site, he received a message that revealed a new Foursquare badge:

“You are now 220 miles above Earth traveling at 17,500 mph and unlocked the NASA Explorer Badge! Show this badge and get a free scoop of astronaut ice cream.”

When Wheelock completes his mission and returns to Earth at the end of November, the NASA Explorer badge will be available for Foursquare users to earn.

“Check-ins from around the world have been cool, but this blew my mind!” said Dennis Crowley, CEO and co-founder of Foursquare. “We’re psyched to partner with NASA to help users explore the space program and the universe.”

Foursquare users check in to venues wherever they go using the service to find nearby friends; get helpful tips about the places they’re visiting; and be challenged and rewarded for experiencing new things.

As result of the partnership, Foursquare users who check in to a NASA-related venue will find information from NASA about the location.

For example, someone checking in at the agency’s headquarters in Washington will discover that a replica of NASA astrophysicist John Mather’s Nobel Prize is on display in the lobby.

NASA’s page on Foursquare, the official location of the partnership, is at: http://www.foursquare.com/NASA

Photo courtesy: Foursquare

RMN News

Rakesh Raman