Come Fly With Me .. Into Social Media


I love planes so when Josh Hallett, Hyku, presented the opportunity to talk to the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) I jumped at the chance. CAP Civil_air_patrol__2 held its inaugural Public Affairs Officer Academy in Hot'lanta (very hot 'Lanta!)last week. I had the pleasure of speaking to a wonderful group of volunteers who are making a huge difference in our country and influencing the lives of thousands of kids. I met people who had been volunteering for over 20-years. They told me the most heart warming stories of how CAP has changed lives ..  especially kids in the cadet program. CAP is meant for social media. Julie, Kim, Steve and Jim you were great! 

Got to the Marriott Marquis in time to catch the speaker before me. Always a good thing to do - to have a reference point of where folks were before you come on. It was a session on traditional PR. After the slides on how to plan and media relations a slide on Blogs popped up. Oh oh .. over lap I thought. The speaker's concluding remarks on the topic ran something like .. Interesting idea but you don't want to put it on top of your list. Keep in the idea file if you have time. You have too many other more important things to do before you add blogs to the mix.

Girlfriend, I had to bring in another point of view. The Civil Air Patrol is meant for social media. Fascinating to me was after my talk a group of people came over to chat that included 20 somethings to 70 somethings. It was a 71-year old gentleman who was the most enthused about going home to Dallas to talk to his WING about blogging. I,of course, sent him to Millie Garfield's My Mom's Blog for a peek into senior blogs.

Sidebar: Millie's on network TV .. ABC News no less! Not bad for 81-year young gal from Swampscott, MA!

Okay, I admit to taking a sip or two from the koolaid so let's take a closer look and see if CAP is really meant for social media.

  • CAP's mission is connecting with and helping people. - The most powerful value of blogs is the functionality to develop relationships through conversations. CAP has the most amazing stories to tell. Each WING (CAP Chapter) could write its own book.
  • CAP's mandate is also to education. Podcasts, vlogs, blogs each offers unique (and fun) ways to provide information and peer-to-peer interaction. Using YouTube and iTunes as distribution channels can increase reach.
  • The WINGs don't have a lot of money. - Blog platforms, like Blogger and Wordpress are free.
  • One of CAP's challenges is to reach diverse audiences: prospective cadets, cadets, adult volunteers, media, corporate sponsors, parents, community supporters, businesses, pilots .. to name a few. - Multiple social media strategies are a way to provide content that addresses specific needs of members of their community. Podcasts, multi author blogs and online photo albums area a few more ideas.
  • As one might expect the cadets are all over social networks. There are amazing Flickr photos, YouTube videos, MySpace sites and Facebook groups. There's even a Facebook group for girl cadets. However, it's not all under twenty somethings who are using social media to reach out to other volunteers and people who share their passion. Adults are there too. -  Hang out where your people are .. why not a WING Myface page and/or Facebook group?
  • Since there are CAP members involved in social networks and blogs listening in on those conversations - and then joining in - would be a terrific way to obtain informal feedback and first step research.

Yes, Divas sure seems to me that CAP is meant for social media.

Lessons Learned: Keep an open mind to new ways of doing business .. or new ways of doing life!

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You gave a great talk there. I wanted to bring up that bloggers are now covered as media under the Freedom of Information Act. They can request FOIA from federal agencies and such. Being one of those 20-somethings, I enjoyed seeing the interest of new media to the other generations of members. CAP is truely a very diverse organization.

Posted by: Maj Paul S. Cianciolo on Aug 13, 2007 12:12:10 PM

Paul -

You made my day! I appreciate your kind words and love that you are bring social media into CAP. Wouldn't it be awesome to see each WING with its own blog?

Keep up your amazing work.

Posted by: Toby on Aug 13, 2007 6:58:28 PM

I love reading stories like this! I'm about to fly off to Cambodia where I am doing workshops and keynote at a conference for ngos and bloggers. I'm talking about Web2.0 stuff. Gonna have to keep a wide open mind

The story of how I even got to go is pretty amazing testimony to the social web and nonprofits -- I did a personal fundraising campaign and raised my travel costs in less than a week!

Posted by: Beth Kanter on Aug 13, 2007 10:13:41 PM

I'm glad the session went well! We'll have to catch-up next time I'm in ATL.

Posted by: Josh Hallett on Aug 14, 2007 1:58:39 PM

Glad the session went well with CAP

Posted by: targeted traffic on Aug 18, 2007 6:04:19 AM

Paul's idea of having WING's own blog sound good! Anyways, keep up the good work!

Posted by: BlogOxide on Sep 6, 2007 9:41:17 PM

Social media strategy and site are the future. Because you will find only realistic business information there.

Posted by: Magdy Said on May 24, 2012 9:10:34 AM

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