I’d never heard of NORAD until this time last year. The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is responsible for keeping watch over the skies of the USA and Canada. Not an organisation that would be recognised by many (certainly not by those outside the USA and Canada). I now know about NORAD thanks to Santa Claus…and a kid’s phone call to NORAD in 1955. A great little story that has ultimately resulted in NORAD spending every Christmas Eve since telling kids (big and small) where Santa’s sleigh is.
This up-to-the-minute update of Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve was traditionally done by a dedicated telephone number (1 (877) HI NORAD). Kids can still phone this number, but the development of technology over the years has really given NORAD the chance to extend its reach so much more.
The NORAD Santa tracking team now use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to keep people posted on Santa’s journey. “Santa Cams” are dotted across the globe and allow NORAD to post updates and videos of Santa and his reindeer. Using Google Maps and Google Earth as a platform for these sightings means something so traditional is brought to life by the social web.
Great news for kids around the world wanting to know where Santa is on Christmas Eve and great news for an organisation (NORAD) who are keen to build awareness of the good work they do in defending the borders 365 days a year. Social technology has enabled NORAD to reach out far further than they could when they relied on an ad campaign and a telephone number. Their Facebook Page has over 248,000 fans and their Twitter stream has over 16,000 followers….with the night before Christmas fast approaching I’m sure these numbers will grow.
The latest “Santa Cam” sighting was…flying over the Great Wall of China. Happy Christmas!