Stefanie Gordon Shows Just How Powerful Social Media Can Be

By Jeff Capellini, CBSNew

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — She had only booked her seat on the plane a week ago. Yet that simple spur-of-the-moment decision ended up making history – literally.

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There was Stefanie Gordon on Monday, just minding her own business on her way to see her parents in Lake Worth, Fla., when her entire world turned upside down, albeit in a good way.

Gordon, 33, of Hoboken, N.J., had just awoken from a nap when she heard the captain tell the passengers to look out east for an opportunity to get a bird’s-eye view of Space Shuttle Endeavour on her final flight. She decided that would make a cool picture to post on Twitter, so she fired up her phone and that’s exactly what she did.

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What happened next, though, changed her life.

“It was just shocking. My dad picked me up at the airport so I wasn’t paying attention to my phone after I sent the tweet. The phone kept buzzing and buzzing from the Twitter mentions. I didn’t realize what was going on until an hour later when I finally looked at my phone,” Gordon said.

What Gordon had done was capture a rare image from a unique vantage point. She could have been content to keep a freeze frame of Endeavour’s final foray into space for herself, but being a Twitter enthusiast she said she knew the image would do more good online than stored on her phone.

But the response she has received has gone way beyond a mild curiosity.

Gordon has been asked to do interviews by basically every major news outlet in the country and has had her Twitter following jump by more than 3,000 people in 24 hours. The image itself has been viewed hundreds of thousands of time online.

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“Everything has been so positive; everyone has been so congratulatory about it. It’s overwhelming. People from all over the world, people that you don’t know, that didn’t know you 24 hours ago, are now sending you their congratulations,” Gordon said.

What has happened to Gordon is the direct result of an initiative news websites started implementing a few years ago. The idea was then and still is today to get the viewer or reader more directly involved. Take for example the YouReport! feature on the homepage. We ask our readers to report anything they think is newsworthy and we decide what to follow up on. In essence, the viewer now not only has the opportunity to report the news, but to shape a news cycle as well.

And social media sites take this concept one step further, becoming the fast-moving vehicle that disseminates the information to a mass audience.

“We live in a now society. You see people reading the paper in the afternoon and we ask, what’s the point of that? You are reading something that is old news, something that has happened in the last couple of hours,” Gordon said. “Having social media being what it is, it puts everything in a now society, more than 24-hour news networks. We knew bin Laden was dead before any news organizations announced it.”

Gordon said her newfound notoriety has done wonders for her blog,, which serves as her sounding board on a myriad of topics, including her personal life and sports. She said as soon as the madness surrounding the picture calms down, she will sit down and write about her experiences and most importantly what she learned.

“I just TwitPiced a picture, sent it to Twitter and said, ‘hey guess what I got to see?’ I have been getting tweets from all over the world just wanting to see my picture.”

“Honestly, I never thought it would become such a big deal.”

With the way information bounces around the world today, it honestly never had a chance.

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