Although there are plenty of skeptics who still think blogs, podcasts and Word of Mouth advertising are a huge waste of time, these new communications tactics are changing the way people think and at a rate faster than almost anyone can keep up with.
Have you seen the redesigned elements of the Eclipse 500 VLJ? I’m not a company insider, but I certainly wonder how much of the redesign would have happened if the Eclipse Critic blog had not begun to field hundreds of comments about the aircraft.
Regardless of where you stood, look at the people around the globe who took part in talking to the Brazilian government, some through this blog and many others through letters, e-mails, radio and TV shows and other mailing lists, some focusing on the need to release the two U.S. pilots others demanding they be held. And even the government the operates the Brazilian Air Traffic Control system, right up to the President, has had to admit the system there is in chaos.
Blogs, podcasts and even v-casts have emerged as the key elements of “Citizen Journalism,” that were envisioned when the Internet first appeared. Anyone, anywhere can start a blog in minutes and begin reporting from the scene … faster than many traditional media, in fact.
Unfortunately, aviation has been rather slow on the uptake. Just search the Internet and see how many blogs you find related to aviation.
But like the Internet’s blogs, U-Tube, podcasts and related technology are no more than tools.
Were the issues at Eclipse and in Brazil established before the blogs challenged them? Sure
Did the blogs provoke people to think more seriously about something that had perhaps passed unnoticed before? Absolutely.
If we in the aviation industry don’t build our own form of on-the-street reporting of issues and opinions with blogs and podcasts for starters, and probe the world around us to tell our own stories with the accuracy and depth the world demands, other writers will do it for us.
And we might not like the way they portray us.