For Posterity: What It Was Like Watching Curiosity's Descent on Twitter

By Ross Andersen
One thing I love about Twitter is the way that it expands your living room during momentous cultural events---the way it adds a layer of updates, jokes, links and analysis to whatever stream of images you happen to be watching. It's one of the first things I mention when I try to convince Twitter-skeptics to give the service a shot. Last night, the Curiosity landing dominated my Twitter stream. Curiosity-related chatter began several hours before the rover even reached the red planet, built steadily through its ingeniously engineered landing, and exploded when the rover announced, with its very own Twitter feed, that it was safely on the surface of Mars. Science journalist Ed Yong described the night best when he tweeted: "I have NEVER seen my Twitter stream discuss a single topic and ONLY a single topic until now. Marvelous time to be alive."

I wanted to share a version of this experience, so this morning I used Storify, a tool that lets you build stories from different pieces of your social media streams, to compile an abridged version of my Twitter feed from last night. It doesn't quite capture the real time thrill of following a big, exciting news event on Twitter, but it will give you a feel for it: 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/08/for-posterity-what-it-was-like-watching-curiositys-descent-on-twitter/260770/