Chris Hadfield, former commander of the International Space Station, is among the most impressive living examples of my fellow Canadians, and also a huge fan of using social media and digital tools to document and share his experience in space with the help of his son Evan Hadfield. The astronaut used SoundCloud a lot while in space, partially to document his extra-atmospheric folk music guitar playing, but also just to give a sense of what it sounds like to live on a floating contained habitat.
In the short video above, Hadfield recounts the audio history of his trip, and does a good job verbally explaining how much noise changes based on the different environments you end up in both up on the space station itself, and once you return. He talks about all of this against the typically idyllic background of what looks to my trained eye like Canadian cottage country, where he’s likely enjoying some much-needed downtime.
Hadfield’s giving SoundCloud some great promotion here, but the truth is that the use of the tool in this case (while unique) actually exemplifies how the startup can provide an additional dimension to a story that in the past has been mostly about the visual medium. Inevitably space coverage is going to steer toward the visual spectrum, but Hadfield’s usage of SoundCloud shows how a story can engage on different levels using today’s digital toolkit.
Hadfield is a social media superstar, and his example is bound to set a precedent for anyone looking to maximize their online impact. Of course, no one wants to know what it sounds like in the ambient environment of the at-home blogger (I’ll give you a hint: there’s lots of fan noise), but for other situations where there’s value in publicizing a job, role or situation that’s out of the ordinary, it makes a lot of sense.