The popularity of online communities continues to grow exponentially, spurring a wealth of studies as to the pros and cons of Web-based social networking. The findings overwhelmingly indicate that the benefits of online communities—to individuals, organizations, and the industry—are many.
We, the staff of Military & Aerospace Electronics, aim to bring these many benefits to the mil-aero market via the Mil & Aero Command Post, a rich online community accessible via www.milaero.com or directly at http://community.milaero.com. Be certain to bookmark the site, or go one step further and make it your home page, to keep abreast of the latest and greatest industry topics, challenges and resolutions, controversies, insights, and more.
It is easy to get started:
- Visit http://community.milaero.com,
- Click “Sign Up” in the top right-hand corner of the page,
- Fill in the necessary information, and
Look around, personalize your profile, start a forum, comment on a post, upload an image or video, or take any of a variety of other actions. Come back hourly, daily, weekly—whenever and as often as you like. The Command Post is open 24x7.
I am going to keep the Command Post open during my work day, and I look forward to posting when the mood strikes. I hope you too will c’mon in, take a look around, and decide to join and participate. While in the Command Post, feel free to message me directly with suggestions on how we can make the experience better.
Online communities, such as the Command Post, provide us the opportunity to connect with others in the industry, and build and further solidify relationships across geographic distances at no cost. Participants also gain greater insight into the wants and needs of industry players. If you are among those whose travel budget has been slashed in the wake of an economic downturn, you have all the more reason to tune in and turn on at the Command Post.
As if social cohesion and relationship building weren’t sufficient reasons to join the Command Post, a host of other benefits exists. One of the most powerful functions of an online community is that of a knowledge exchange.
The industry has too few open roundtables in which to have questions answered and problems solved timely and honestly by a cross-section of knowledgeable professionals in the mil-aero community. The Command Post is the opportune locale for fielding questions to your peers.
In the Command Post, feel free to ask for advice and feedback on products and services, an engineering or systems design challenge, a business quandary, an ethical dilemma, and more. Poll your peers, or use the space as your soapbox on issues important to you and the industry as a whole.
“Search engines find facts. People provide solutions to problems,” writes Howard Rheingold, author of The Virtual Community and head of Howard Rheingold Associates. “Networks of people can solve problems for each other. Online networks accelerate and globalize the process.”
The free and easy exchange of information, opinions, successes and failures, and more is useful not only for problem solving, but also for advancing technology. Online brainstorming breeds industry innovation and invention.
As a side benefit, proactive participants in the Command Post can become well attuned to the needs of others in the community; deliver information to people in a position, and with an inclination, to act on that knowledge; and open themselves up to continual training and education.
Be proactive. Build community. Join the Command Post. Visit http://community.milaero.com today.