In a clever new social media marketing campaign, National Geographic will soon be beaming a collection of 140-character messages into space.
The transmission will begin on August 15, on the 15th anniversary of the mysterious Wow! signal – a 72-second long transmission that was received at the Big Ear radio observatory in Ohio, so named for the exclamation that volunteer astronomer Jerry Ehman scrawled on the print out.
"If The Wow! signal really was a cosmic 'tweet' from our nearest neighbours, we think it’s high time we organised a @reply," said Christopher Albert, senior vice-president of global communications and talent relations at National Geographic.
Twitter users will have till 8pm on June 30 (AEST) to submit their message, which has been timed to coincide with the premier of a new television series named Chasing UFOs.
A number of celebrities have gotten involved with the campaign, recording video messages to be included in the transmission. Miss Universe 2011 winner Leila Lopes took the opportunity to warn any extraterrestrial beauty queens out there that she was ready to take them on.
While it might seem like fun and games, there does appear to be a somewhat scientific basis behind the experiment.
"We are working with Arecibo Observatory to develop the best way to encrypt the transmission," said National Geographic spokeswoman Kristin Montalbano.
"Earlier transmissions have focused on simplicity, whereas this one will rely more on creating a complex but noticeable pattern, hopefully standing out from other random, natural noise."
So who knows, perhaps one day businesses will have to consider their extraterrestrial clients when planning their next content marketing strategy?
If you want to add your message to the National Geographic space communication, you can participate live on June 30 by adding the hashtag #ChasingUFOs to your tweet, or you can use the tweet scheduler on the National Geographic website now to pre-plan your message.
Posted by Zak Wash