Later this week I am going to take to the skies with a team of bloggers and social media professionals as guests of the Air Force Reserve Command operations. We have been invited to participate in a special in-flight demonstration of one of their jets being refueled in flight.   The mission is a media event, designed to showcase the activities of this Indiana based operation.

The Air Force is tapping into the growing influence of bloggers and social media professionals.    I am not sure they are ready for our sense of humor (BgKahuna keeps threatening to fly the plane), but I think they are looking forward to the exposure they will get with a wide audience as a result of the event.

What is interesting about the event, is there are no traditional journalists included in the guest list.  This is an interesting trend that we are seeing in other areas of news reporting; people are more interested in the unbiased, uncensored reports of the man on the street. For the latest information, people are turning to live, real time updates from twitter and facebook instead of traditional news sources.

What are the implications for small business owners?  I wouldn’t abandon traditional media. You should still submit press releases and news updates to local newspapers and tv stations, but I would also make sure that important announcements are distributed real time through alternative channels. Be creative, consider inviting bloggers and Vloggers to ride with service crews or behind the scenes in your factory to involve people in your product.

And for some examples of how well this works, be sure to follow our mission on Thursday, May 5 on twitter.  Look for hashtag : #GusFlt0511 or follow the best of the conversations here: