The benefits of social media and an online presence.

VIRAL: vi·ralˈvīrəl: adjective
  1. relating to or involving an image, video, piece of information, etc., that is circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.

The beauty of something going viral is it cannot be anticipated or explained. But it does need to be capitalized on and Wallops Island is about to learn just how.

If you live on the Delmarva peninsula or are at all interested in space, you’ve probably heard of Wallops Island. It’s home to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. From what I’ve seen over the past years, the facility has struggled trying to spread national awareness of its frequent rocket launches. With so much going on, I would love to see the public more involved in the facilities’ discoveries. However, press mentions post-launch are few and far between. That is until you introduce an  unexpected star: the photobombing frog.

On Friday, I went into Delmarva Public Radio and heard laughing about the Wallops Island rocket launch of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE). After trying to understand the story my coworkers were describing, I eventually went straight to my favorite search engine. Come on guys, Google! Did you not pay attention to my last post?

Well, here’s what I found:


Photo credit to National Geographic.

Do you see him?!

That floating black shadow sailing through the air is the frog that has put Wallops Island on the map. Here’s a lesson in going viral: Google “Wallops Island frog” and you’ll get 76,400 hits. Not to mention articles featuring the frog on the websites of National Geographic, Time, Slate, and Fox.

Though unexpected, this popularity is something Wallops Island has to capitalize on quickly. There are plenty of creative ways to ride this free publicity to the end. How about a Twitter account for the frog that tweets cute and clever quips about the launch and future launches? Or even unofficially labeling the frog a mascot of the Wallops Island launches and incorporating him into public awareness events? Take advantage of going viral while you can because the internet moves so fast it may not remember you tomorrow.

Do you think Wallops Island can keep the buzz going? I hope so!

Comments on: "Going Viral: The Wallops Island Frog Photobomb" (2)

  1. I had to take a second look at that one. How did the frog get so high up in the air? I guess it could be the angle of the camera making the frog look higher than it actually is (also there is a rocket in the background that could be messing with my mind). I agree about the national awareness of Wallops Flight Facility. I have family living in Chincoteague and pass the facility whenever I visit them. I wouldn’t know much or at all about NASA being there if it wasn’t for that connection. Every time I pass it I think, “Wow, they launch rockets there”.

    • They launched another on Wednesday and a lot of the SU faculty snuck out of their offices to watch. I think it gives our area a claim to fame to be on NASA’s radar. And I know what you mean about the angle of the picture. The frog is clearly closer to the camera because otherwise he would’ve been the size of a person. Now that’s a scary thought.

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