On a recent episode of NAPTV, I mentioned that NAPT was creating a blog spot and was looking for people interested in joining our “Blog Squad.”
Within hours after I announced the concept, an incredible number of people contacted us to learn more about the project and volunteer to participate. Suffice it to say that NAPT’s newest effort to help our members communicate and network in exciting and innovate ways has developed a buzz.
In case you aren’t familiar with blogs, they are the 21st century version of the old-fashioned diary — except the author wants everyone to read the entries. Blogs, like diaries, generally represent the personality of the author. A blog often also reflects the purpose of the Website that hosts it. We hope our blogs will do both.
Technology is great, but it can be impersonal. Technology that connects people in the most personal way is the most popular technology. That’s why Facebook has quickly become the 800-pound gorilla of social networking.
NAPT members have told us time and time again that they really like the personal aspect of the service we provide. They have come to expect a personal touch from us. We think this blog project in particular will continue in that vein by enabling people to connect on a very personal level, albeit via mass communication. And that is primarily because of the people who have agreed to be our bloggers.
We have invited 10 people to blog on our Website. This Blog Squad includes Alexandra Robinson, Dr. Linda Bluth, Donald Tudor, Karen Losch, Peter Mannella, Murrell Martin, Steve Kalmes and Peter Lawrence. They have each been invited to participate in the project because we believe they have valuable information to share with NAPT members and we believe people will be interested in what they have to say.
Another of our bloggers is Barry McCahill. For most of his federal government career, Barry was the senior public affairs official for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Barry served as one of the primary spokespersons for federal transportation policy under eight secretaries of transportation before he retired from NHTSA in 1996. He was on the strategy team that devised the national campaign that helped increase safety belt usage to the high levels that are now the practice in the U.S. He also helped create the nationally acclaimed seat belt “spokesdummies,” Vince and Larry, and the “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” public service advertising campaigns. In short, he has some experience dealing with federal transportation policy matters. Here’s some of what he had to say in his first post on our blog:
“‘Change,’ ‘stimulus’ and ‘shovel ready’ are the hot topics these days as the Obama administration pumps trillions of borrowed dollars into government projects, and failing banks and other industries in an attempt to turn a very sick economy around.
“The president says we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but most of us knew that already from watching the job losses, failing businesses and home foreclosures in our communities.
“Yet according to media accounts, the legislation to fix the situation was passed without members of the House or Senate even reading it. Amazing! This gives new meaning to the old saying, ‘I’m from Washington, and I’m here to help you!’”
We have nine other bloggers that give out a regular dose of tips or personal opinions for the benefit of NAPT members, and they do it Monday through Friday. The topics they discuss generally fit into one of five categories: communication, leadership, education, advocacy or resources/research.
Barry McCahill likes to talk about government or regulatory issues, but he also has opinions on professional growth, education and training. Alexandra Robinson is a nationally — in fact, internationally — recognized expert on issues involving students with special needs, but she posts about management challenges and human resource issues.
All in all, you get a variety of unique, interesting and sometimes unexpected perspectives from local directors, state directors and state association executives that you are sure to enjoy.
The best part is that our bloggers will do it their way. Some type, some use videos and some do both. Most of the blogs are relatively short, so it doesn’t take long to get the information. The video blogs (vlogs) are typically about five minutes, and the text blogs are generally 200 to 500 words. If you want more info or have something to say about a blog, there are forums where viewers/readers can communicate with the bloggers and each other.
If you’ve been reading carefully, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve mentioned nine of our bloggers. The final blogger? Me. I will continue to do my vlog — NAPTV — on a regular basis, and I promise to continue to bring you “Information with Imagination.” You can bank on it.