Air Force

I was reading David Meerman Scott’s blog as I sat in the ferry line up last night. (I live—and AHA has an office—on the Sunshine Coast as well as our office within the QUAY Strategies office. It’s a tough life, I know.) I have been remiss in keeping up with what some of my favourite bloggers have been discussing over the past week or so because of a time sensitive project that we have been working on.

As usual, I learned a few things from David’s posts. One of the entries that I found very interesting was on the U.S. Air Force – it included a web response assessment chart, you can see it here at Global Nerdy.

David’s blog post (as always) is worth reading. It is also interesting to note that because of interest in the web response assessment chart and feedback from people such as David, Joey deVilla, Jeremiah Owyang, Steve Field, Matt McGee and others – Captain Faggard, Chief of Emerging Technology at the Air Force, revised the document. It is very interesting to me that the Air Force is using social media and how engaged they are. They are even on Twitter! They are authentically and effectively using social media to interact and engage with a range of people.

We’re talking a serious brand here. This organization has a reputation for being, let’s say, “in control” of their brand and their people and an image that may be perceived as not necessarily being the most transparent – for a variety of reasons.

Some unexpected organizations—such as the Air Force—can be found embracing social media, yet some other organizations are still living in fear of it. We are often asked at speaking engagements and workshops about how to “sell” online or social media to the CEO, c-suite, executive director or board of directors. The fact is, you can’t “sell” it. You can explain it, describe it, share the opportunities and showcase the potential threats you face by ignoring it. You can show many, many examples of why it should be included in strategic planning and used as a part of your toolkit. If you really have to convince the senior team of its value, you are already in a losing battle.

It seems that as communicators, we are smack in the middle of a huge shift in how we do things. In one week, I can go into one organization and find a senior team that shows interest, engagement and a recognition of the opportunity and the threats that social media presents and in another see a senior executive or board that is filled with fear and chooses to completely ignore it and bury their heads in the sand.

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