It is hard to ignore the current explosion of social networking that is occurring in the general aviation family. Every time you go online, a new aviator has joined the conversation – a great thing because as we all know, GA faces challenges today that are best met with a unified front.
Even though the 2013 edition of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is now a happy memory, many aviators who attended this air show/family reunion are still talking about the big increase in social networking that took place. Because so many #avgeeks are now connected via social networks – especially Twitter – hundreds of these aviation socialites hung out together all day, met up to watch the afternoon air show as small groups before partying into the night at gatherings of 100 or more. Everyone knew everyone else, and it just felt right to see such a dedicated mass of passionate aviators celebrating GA…together.
Twitter is the network of choice for many of us online aviators because of the real-time nature of the platform. When news breaks, Twitter users see it first. When we need to join together to build solidarity, putting that request out to the Twitter #Avgeek community is by far the fastest way to make our collective voice heard.
But there is a growing population of pilots who are not satisfied with the status quo in aviation social networking and are using everything in their digital arsenal to push important information out to friends, fans, family and followers. Two active members of the aviation family who are stretching their imaginations are Brent Owens and David Allen. They exemplify what it means to dig deep and develop new ways to use existing social networking tools to gather together like minds and help rally the rest of us.
Owens, who writes the IFlyBlog came up with the brilliant and successful concept of “Blogging in Formation,” where six veteran bloggers team up to all write about the same topic one week per month. When each of these “formation bloggers” posts their material, the other five cross-promote like crazy, and the result is a significant bump in traffic. The other five “Formation Bloggers” are Andrew Hartley, Karlene Petitt, Eric Auxier, Ron Rapp and Dan Pimentel.
Allen, of Other People’s Airplanes, has published his well-produced “video blogs” for years. But at Airventure 2013, Team OPA had a sizable crew wearing identical team shirts, using the latest video/audio gear to produce broadcast quality content to be streamed live online or made available on iTunes. This new energy from Allen and his team demonstrates how some in our community are bringing their “A” game to aviation social networking, determined to tell the world just how cool GA can be.
Even AOPA is adding new content that pushes GA forward through more pinpoint use of social networking. The Opinion Leaders Blog you are currently reading is just one more example of how some aviators are taking existing platforms – in this case, AOPA.org – and developing new ways to tell GA’s story.
Facebook, Twitter, blogging, videos, podcasting, or the next big thing to debut tomorrow…take your pick. The platform does not matter. What matters is that you jump on these social networks and join the conversation. General aviation needs you to be all in right now, we need to stay focused and band together.
Hiding in our silos, afraid to take on the challenges GA faces is how we lose. And social networking is how we win.
The opinions expressed by the bloggers do not reflect AOPA’s position on any topic.