If I could be anywhere on 28 July, it would be at Oshkosh, where Jetwhine, the self-described blog of aviation buzz and bold opinion, plans to host “the first annual blogger connection at AirVenture”.
Many of the folks who produce today’s aviation blogs and podcasts will gather together to discuss the impact social media is having now and on the future of the industry, from business aviation to airlines to light sport aircraft.
I asked the editor of Jetwhine, 30-year industry veteran Robert Mark, to comment on the drivers behind this event. Here is what Mark had to say:
“Being an old experienced blogger of 20 months at Jetwhine.com a light bulb went off for me some time back, about the time of the last AirVenture I think. I come to this whole thing as a guy who has been flying and writing about those experiences all my life.
“The Internet has changed just about everything we do, but honestly I think aviation has been slow to embrace it because traditionally we don’t like change.
“But old folks like me – I watched them launch the monkeys in the rockets back in the late 50s, so that’s pretty old – and in fact aviators of all ages hold a considerable amount of tribal knowledge about our industry. The way we traditionally share that is by hanging out at airport restaurants, or flight schools or FBOs and chatting with people we might happen to run in to.
“Now the Internet offers us a chance to gather together in communities no matter where we live. We can hang out anywhere and talk aviation. As an instructor, I’m always telling students about valuable resources, again, sharing that knowledge.
“So what we’ll see on the 28th is a gathering of early adopters – bloggers and podcasters – like you and me, as well as people who are a few jumps ahead and see the link to the aviation community being fostered by the likes of Twitter and very vertically developed social networking sites beyond the Facebook that is kind of a one size fits all.
“Of course, as a marketing and PR guy too, I’m finally beginning to see how companies will be able to promote their brands differently than the traditional full page ad in AIN or BCA or ProPilot. And that’s coming. Right now, I see these early steps as building the infrastructure. I don’t think traditional advertising will disappear, but it is going through a transformation. Selling stuff isn’t just about relationships, it’s about the content of the conversations we can build, I think.
“But I’m not naive either. There are quite a few entrenched companies – agencies for starters – that don’t want to see these kinds of changes to marketing communications in this industry because they make a lot of money with it just the way it is, thank you very much.
“And yes, we’re not going to cover all of this in an hour, but my guess is quite a few of us will stay connected after the event on the 28th and get together again before the show is over.”