HOUSTON—Calling it a privilege to work in such a dynamic and collaborative environment, NASA social media manager Dustin Greer, 26, told reporters Wednesday he considers himself fortunate to be a part of the space agency’s team.
Greer, who for the past four years has helped to maintain NASA’s official Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram accounts, is said to go about his job each day under the impression that, as social media manager, he is one of the thousands of men and women working tirelessly to advance humankind’s exploration of outer space.
“Every day at NASA, we’re conducting groundbreaking research and making new discoveries, and it feels incredible being part of something so critical to the future of our society,” said Greer, whose job consists of uploading images, copying and pasting text, shortening links to stay under Twitter’s 140-character limit, and responding to comments online. “Everyone here—from the guys designing new propulsion methods to our astronauts living aboard the International Space Station—plays an important role, and it takes all of us working together to accomplish our missions.”
“We really are a well-oiled machine,” he continued.
“It’s enough of a reward just to be surrounded by the type of people who are always challenging and pushing one another to reach greater heights. We really bring out the best in one another.”
Citing the New Horizons probe’s Pluto flyby and the Curiosity rover’s landing on Mars as examples, Greer told reporters it was hard not to take immense pride in the landmark achievements he and his colleagues have made since he was first hired to run NASA’s social media presence. Greer, who majored in communications at DePaul University and joined NASA after a summer marketing internship with the e-commerce site Groupon, added that behind the agency’s awe-inspiring feats are countless long days and sleepless nights that most Americans never see.
The employee tasked with curating the agency’s LinkedIn page was also quick to point out that at NASA, he and his fellow staff members are always expected to place the mission ahead of their own personal egos. Greer stressed that whether they are gathering data from space telescopes, devising next-generation technologies to enable extraplanetary habitation, or repromoting posts from the agency’s Tumblr account, neither he nor his coworkers are concerned with claiming individual credit for their contributions.
Furthermore, Greer said, he and the agency’s engineers, physicists, and crewmembers were essentially one large family.
“Preparing for the last [International Space] Station resupply required all hands on deck,” Greer said of the recent mission, which he documented and shared on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #NASASocial. “The technicians were working around the clock to monitor the rocket, the meteorologists were closely assessing atmospheric conditions, and the whole time I was juggling tweets covering the launch with that week’s Periscope tour of the Kennedy Space Center.”
“It was so exhausting, but at the same time, it was extremely exciting to have been part of it,” he continued. “Especially the moment when I could just step back and watch the posts go live.”
While stating that he thoroughly enjoys his work, Greer admitted to reporters that with so much at stake in their day-to-day operations, he, like everyone at NASA, tends to place an enormous amount of pressure on himself to avoid letting down his colleagues. The man responsible for posting clips of NASA press conferences to YouTube went on to say that when he is feeling burnt out from the demands of the job, he needs only to remind himself of the millions of young Americans who NASA is inspiring every single day.
“What I like most about working here is that although this job is incredibly demanding, I get to show up each day knowing we’re really doing something meaningful,” said the man who has the ability to queue up several hours’ worth of social media posts ahead of time, allowing him to sometimes leave work as early as 2 p.m. “It’s enough of a reward just to be surrounded by the type of people who are always challenging and pushing one another to reach greater heights. We really bring out the best in one another.”
Added Greer: “This job isn’t for everyone. It’s a high-stress environment, but man, it’s such a payoff when we take a look at everything we’ve accomplished.”