“We Should Have Sent A Poet Not A Pilot”


50 years ago this month, Yuri Gagarin broke beyond earths gravity and floated around in space for 108 minutes. He orbited once and then returned, a hero, a legend.

Here’s how he described what he saw and felt :

“I can see clouds. I can see everything. It’s beautiful.”

“The feeling of weightlessness was somewhat unfamiliar compared with Earth conditions. Here, you feel as if you were hanging in a horizontal position in straps. You feel as if you are suspended.”

Getting the first man in space was and still is a monumental achievement in human history, although, Sergei Korolev, chief designer and scientist behind the whole Soviet space adventure, once remarked, they “should have sent a poet not a pilot”.

Reminds me of discussions with my clients around rethinking social media, especially away from just another broadcasting channel (ref : golden rule). Instead I get them to focus on exploring the opportunity to be themselves (humanisation of brands) and describe the process not product of their offerings.

The big hurdle is reversing the trend that social media sits within marketing or public relations, who, with their specific set of monologue communication skills around crafting messages for the masses or the gatekeepers of the many, fail to be conversational.

I’m not dismissing these professions just challenging the assumption to truly capture experiences you need more than simple descriptions and statements of fact but instead emotion, lyricism and sometimes (dare I say it) poetry.

(Extension and personal followup to my recent article on Why Social Media Shouldn’t Be Outsourced.)

Image credit

Origin of quote in title is from the Titanium play. Quote was also paraphrased in the film Contact.

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