SpaceX Op-Ed: The Man or the Method?

It seems as a week can’t pass without SpaceX hitting the media. They’ve not only been able to reinvigorate the concept of pedestrian space travel but also inspire the minds of younger generations to follow their dreams and careers to the stars. At first glance their mission statement seems pretty straight forward and then takes a most unique turn; people living on other planets.



Ambitious? Sure. Innovative? You bet. Necessary? Up for debate. What we do know is that space travel has been revived and is sexier than ever. But how? Numerous factors play into this; branding, content, relationships, media. What we want to focus on is the man behind the company and his social media presence.

The Man or the Method?

How do we know the in’s and out’s about what is happening with SpaceX? It could be the millions of followers they have on Instagram and Twitter in tandem with news coverage. But let’s take a closer look at their maverick CEO, Elon Musk. His followers more than double what SpaceX has. Yet NASA’s following blows them out of the water! But when you take a look at their Administrator Jim Bridenstine he maintains only mere thousands of followers.

Breaking down the numbers:

SpaceX Elon Musk NASA Jim Bridenstine
Instagram 3.5M 8.3M 33.9M 1.2K
Twitter 7.1M 22.2M 29.2M 10.5K

So what are we really watching in social media? Announcements for the next big thing or the next controversial post or sub-tweet from Elon Musk? Although NASA is the staple name there are many who don’t even realize they are continuing their journey to Mars efforts. Elon Musk’s accessibility is arguably one of the most appealing parts of following this SpaceX mania. His interviews are genuine and awkward which gives you insight into his inner ‘nerd’. Whether this is a cognitive part of their marketing strategy or not, it’s working.

It’s hard to look away from a company pushing the envelope in almost every possible way and looking so far into the future. I mean really, how can you not get even the slightest enjoyment of watching a Tesla floating in space with a ‘Starman’ knowing that David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” is blasting in the background? Genius.