First it was Bill Gates, now astronauts are the latest high-achievers to discover the power of Twitter this week.
Flight engineer T.J. Creamer, of NASA Expedition 22 aboard the International Space Station, posted a tweet at approximately 3:38 a.m. EST Friday. It was the first ever to be posted directly to Twitter from somewhere other than planet Earth.
"Hello Twitterverse!," wrote Creamer, under the Twitter user name Astro_TJ. "We r now LIVE tweeting from the International Space Station—the 1st live tweet from Space! ," Creamer said.
"More soon, send your ?s," added Creamer, who had more than 5,000 followers as of Friday afternoon.
NASA astronauts have posted updates on Twitter in the past, but they first had to be relayed to Mission Control. Now, residents of the ISS can post directly to the micro-blogging site thanks to a new, direct Internet connection.
Dubbed the Crew Support LAN, the system relies on existing communication links to give astronauts full Web connectivity. The crew also has access to e-mail, VoIP, and videoconferencing tools.
But don't expect to hear any inside stuff from the astronauts' Twitter posts. NASA said they are subject to the same guidelines that cover government employees' use of social media on terra firma.
Creamer isn't the only high-profile user to appear on Twitter this week. Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates joined the service Tuesday with a post that said, simply, "Hello World."
Gates followed up with a couple of additional tweets, aimed at raising awareness about earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. He also admitted he's a newbie when it comes to using the site.
"Thanks to you and all the other people who have welcomed me. I've got a lot to learn about Twitter, but look forward to sharing more," Gates wrote. Among the 40 Twitter accounts Gates is tracking is, not surprisingly, Microsoft.
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