Web 2.0. Web 3.0. Webinars. Podcasts. Blogs. RSS feeds. Virtual environments. Social networking. This is the language of today’s Internet. It has not been the language of AFCEA, but that is changing. Our younger members are very comfortable in this environment. The rest of us in government and industry are trying to catch up and learn how to apply these technologies and this culture to our work. AFCEA is moving to help.
Social networking is becoming part of the fabric of our lives. ... Because one of the functions of AFCEA is to establish relationships among the key players in government and industry working in the national security community, these tools seem natural to support our mission.
—Kent R. Schneider, AFCEA President and CEO
From AFCEA 2.0, March 2008
As the Internet continues to grow from an information portal into a networking and collaboration space, AFCEA International has begun to forge its own 2.0 identity. AFCEA’s leaders recognize the value of these emerging technologies for fulfilling the AFCEA mission of “advancing professional knowledge and relationships in the fields of communications, IT, intelligence, and global security.”
SOLUTIONS is an ongoing series that aims to promote a more interactive dialogue between government and industry. The SOLUTIONS events are meant to be shared, with free wireless access that allows attendees to text or email their questions to the presenters. Its wiki is a member-created guide to current and emerging technologies. A Google Group is available for continuous online dialogue before, during and after each SOLUTIONS Event.
AFCEA on LinkedIn
Many people are discovering the value of LinkedIn as a way of keeping contacts on file, getting answers to business-related questions, and networking among other users with shared professional interests. But one’s LinkedIn network is only as valuable as the first-degree relationships within it. By joining AFCEA’s group, users make AFCEA one of their primary networking hubs and broaden their network accordingly.
AFCEA on Facebook
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg fended off Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs and Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt to debut as number one on Silicon.com’s list of top agenda setters for 2007—at the age of 23. Why the hype? Facebook has grown from 7 million members in early 2006 to more than 50 million members today.
AFCEA members who join the AFCEA Facebook group will be able to network nationally and internationally with people who share their interest in command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technology. The platform is highly customizable as well, with applications that allow participants to post multimedia, share photos, create event invitations and discuss news and current events.
AFCEA in Second Life
Networking and collaboration opportunities abound in Second Life, a virtual world platform. AFCEA’s Second Life group is chartered for anyone interested in communications, information technology, intelligence or global security and who works or wants to work in one of these areas for the military, government or industry. Members of the group receive occasional notices about real-world events, SIGNAL Magazine articles of interest and updates to AFCEA-related blogs. They also will have full access to the facilities available and being developed at AFCEA Island, which include meeting rooms, office space, a conference center, exhibit booths, an education facility and viewable media.
AFCEANs who are current Second Life residents can hook up with AFCEA by pulling up the search window, clicking on “Groups” and typing in “AFCEA.” When the group appears in the list, double click to get the group information then click on “Join.” Newcomers to Second Life can simply go to www.secondlife.com to get started. After choosing a “name” and a default avatar, new users should download the free proprietary software that allows access to the world. This is followed by an orientation that explains how to chat, search, walk, fly, use items and interact with the environment overall. After obtaining a pass to the main “grid,” as it’s called, visitors can teleport to a welcome area where they can open the search window to find AFCEA’s group and AFCEA Island.
For more information or an invitation to the AFCEA group, contact Helen Mosher (SL Avatar Name: Helenn Indigo).
First there was SIGNAL Magazine. Then there was the e-mail newsletter, SIGNAL Connections. Now, with SIGNAL Scape, AFCEA’s official publication enters the blogosphere. Excerpts from select articles allow readers to interact with SIGNAL content, either by commenting or using one-click sharing to email, shared bookmarking sites, or social networking platforms such as Facebook. Similarly, readers can “favorite,” easily share, and comment on the links from InternetWorks, Homefront Help, and other frequently updated items such as product announcements and contract awards.
SIGNAL on Twitter
Who knew there was so much you could say in just 140 characters? @SIGNALMAG, SIGNAL’s official microblogging channel, allows readers to get short excerpts from selected SIGNAL articles. Meaningful quotes, AFCEA updates, interesting links and even tips for readers on how to manage their own 2.0 spaces can all come across SIGNAL’s Twitterfeed. And, at special events, SIGNAL editors and AFCEA staff can use Twitter to “broadcast” notable quotes and monitor for reader questions.
Collaboration Nation: How Government and Industry Are Turning 2.0 Into 2.GO is a compendium of the articles from SIGNAL Magazine's 2008 Semaphore Series on Web 2.0, available here as a PDF download.