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Astronaut Karen Nyberg Talks About Taking Pinterest to Space

It Came From Outer Space

At its launch, Pinterest was immediately labeled as an inherently Feminine social media site in its method, largely, it seems, because its early user base, unlike a lot of other social media communities, was predominantly female. In fact, that’s the opposite of most other social media communities. And it wasn’t because its captcha service asked “Are you male? (Don’t lie.)” and then excluded all the men. Tech sites around the web wrote articles about how men found Pinterest confusing, how the site revealed that stereotypes of the feminine were founded in reality, and went out of their way to reassure men that Pinterest could be used for manly things.

Which is part of why I’m subversively pleased at the idea of a female astronaut using Pinterest to get people excited about science and space exploration.

The Daily Dot recently talked to Karen Nyberg about how and why she decided to take to social media, and take a giant leap for man and womankind by being the first astronaut to use Pinterest to do so. She’d already been pinning for her own pleasure for several years, so switching to doing it as a way to share her every day life as an astronaut while on the ISS seemed natural. Sharing a photo was a way for her to connect with folks on Earth, and the comments, repins, and thank yous were definite positive feedback.

Which is good, because pinning a picture from space is a little more difficult than it is down here. There are no cell towers nearby, for one thing.

Nyberg said it’s a multiple step process to pin or tweet from the space station; if she wanted to share an image, she first had to remove the camera card and go to a computer with a local area network on the space station to turn it into a jpeg. Then she’d email it from her NASA on-board email to a personal email account and go to another computer and log in remotely to an Earth computer for an Internet connection. From there she could open the email, get the picture, and put it on her social media accounts.

Nyberg’s pinning efforts were probably most recognized when she did what is pretty typical for a Pinterest user. She shared a picture of a craft project, after sewing together a stuffed dinosaur from materials found on the ISS. (She also shared this video of her outer-space hair care routine.) You can read more about her experience doing social media from space at The Daily Dot.

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.