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NBAA 2.0: New Communications Better Serve Members

NBAA's redesigned web site, NBAA.org, is the beginning of a fresh start for the Association's online communications. In addition to the completely reworked site, NBAA is embracing new online resources in a big way, rolling out an array of new applications, services and technologies to better serve Members. From new interactive, downloadable On-Demand Education sessions to a new Facebook page, Twitter feed and YouTube channel, NBAA is branching out into the cutting-edge of new media.

"We're interested in being involved in all communications mediums," says Jason Wolf, NBAA's director, Internet communications. "We're not trying to replace our traditional media efforts – far from it. We're expanding and complementing them with new ways to connect and engage in dynamic conversation with our Members, the business aviation industry and others."

Many of NBAA's new communications initiatives have grown out of the work NBAA has done with the No Plane No Gain advocacy program (www.noplanenogain.org), a joint undertaking with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association designed to educate the public on the importance of business aviation. Wolf points to the No Plane No Gain site's use of podcasts, a Facebook page, a Twitter feed and other web 2.0 features as the launching pad for their use at NBAA.

One of the most popular initiatives is NBAA's Flight Plan podcast, a regularly posted audio recording of NBAA news focusing on the latest operational, regulatory and legislative happenings. These recordings are available to listen to over the Internet or they can be downloaded in MP3 format for listening to at any time on an iPod, an MP3-enabled phone or any device capable of MP3 playback.

Another exciting new feature is NBAA's Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/nbaa. Twitter is a free service that enables users to create short, 140-character messages called "tweets" and share them in real-time with other users who have elected to follow their updates. The service works on any Internet-capable device such as a computer or smartphone.

Launched in March, NBAA uses its Twitter feed in a variety of valuable ways. For instance, recent tweets have alerted Members to important new congressional testimony, with links to view the testimony on the web. Other tweets have provided news from NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and reminders for upcoming events. In addition, the Twitter feed enables NBAA staff to personally interact with Members, joining them in conversations about all sorts of relevant matters.

NBAA's use of web video also has accelerated recently, with a dedicated channel on YouTube, where the Association posts a variety of videos. Members can use this free service to view and comment on videos by subscribing to the channel at www.youtube.com/NBAAvideo.

NBAA's education programs are embracing web 2.0 technologies as well, and Members are reaping the rewards with increased options to experience and access On-Demand Education sessions.

"We're really making it a priority to enable Members who cannot attend events in-person to receive the critical information they may have missed, in a format and at a time that works for them," says Jo Damato, NBAA's director, operations & educational development.

Among new education initiatives, NBAA launched in May an online education series that ran through June, with rebroadcasts of specific portions of the NBAA 2009 International Operators Conference in a 90-minute interactive session every week. Members watched the rebroadcasts "live" on the web at http://nbaa.impactlearning.org and through the site e-mailed questions that were personally answered by direct e-mail. They also had the option of downloading the sessions in podcast form. Damato explains that these free interactive webinars and podcasts are just the start of using web 2.0 tools to make NBAA events more accessible to Members in the months ahead.

All of NBAA's new web 2.0 initiatives and technology rollouts are designed to make NBAA more responsive and valuable to its Members. But for those just starting to discover these new technologies, Wolf recommends learning at your own pace, in ways that are comfortable. In the near future, NBAA is planning to provide On-Demand Education sessions specifically to introduce and teach web 2.0 and social networking technologies to Members. As Wolf points out, "Just because you're not an early adopter, doesn't mean you missed the boat. You can always learn new technologies and ways to communicate that make sense for you."

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