Commander's CornerBy Col. Carol L. Lynn, CAP Nevada Wing Commander
We have all heard numerous times about how today's technology has changed our society; good and not so good. It has increased accuracy in business, transparency in government, and speed in communications. It has also increased misunderstandings, hurt feelings, enabled wrong impressions, and increased overall society tensions.
When things move quickly and appear as picture collages, it is very easy to mix messages and arrive at the wrong conclusions. The statement, "I didn't mean that", is not an eraser that can clean things up and change perception. A message or picture posted on the internet through any of the numerous media programs will be out there forever, no matter how sorry the sender is. The old example is ripples in a pond, once they start they can't be stopped.
Social media and its effects have been around long enough that this should not be a surprise, but there continues to be a blurring of the lines between personal and organizational messaging. Remember me mentioning how easy it is to jump to the wrong conclusions? Have you heard the statement, "perception is all that matters"? That is the new truth of electronic communication. Consider this;
What if you saw a uniformed police officer enter a liquor store and come out with a paper bag? Initial thoughts?
What if you saw an airline pilot sitting at an airport bar with her bags? Initial thoughts?
What if you saw a picture of a uniformed CAP member standing beside a protester carrying a sign? Initial thoughts?
The reality of those situations could be as simple as the police officer buying a soda, the airline pilot drinking a glass of water, and the CAP member just crossing the street, but in today's media world people don't wait to clarify their perceptions, they usually go with initial thoughts. So, when messages or pictures get posted, it is vital to give some thought to what the initial impression could be. Ask yourself these questions:
Will the picture/message bring a negative perception of me, my family, or CAP?
Will this picture/message bring new members into CAP? Will they be the members you want/need in CAP?
Am I blurring the lines between personal or organizational messaging?
And finally, have I crossed the line according to CAP regulations?
There are plenty of misconceptions and negative messages in the social communications world and Nevada Wing members should not blur the lines any further. Make sure that your pictures/messages do not mix your personal opinions with Civil Air Patrol by posting on squadron sites or with CAP in the background.
Civil Air Patrol is a great organization and Nevada Wing is considered the best of the best so let's make sure that all of our communications enable that perception.