Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The 2013 Airplanista #OSHBASH Awards: Honoring a Few Very Talented #Avgeeks

By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

With each day, I'm amazed at the speed by which the #Avgeek community on Twitter is growing.

When I began following this active group in 2010, it was small enough to recognize the twitnames of everyone you saw tweeting about airplanes and aviation. This group of Twitter power users had a laser beam focus and stayed on topic, reporting on anything related to aviation, all day, every day, in real time.

That was then, and this is now.


In late February of this year, I decided to make a public list of these people so that we could all stay better connected. In just 24 hours, I located about 140 serious #Avgeeks who all post relevant, interesting aviation content. A week later, without even trying, that list grew to 169 #Avgeeks, and it continues to grow each day as I discover more "Airplanistas" who are dedicated to the awesome pursuit of chasing clouds across the sky. But what is important to know is that if I wanted to seek out all the #Avgeeks on Twitter, that list would explode to several hundred or maybe even 1,000s...probably overnight. It's like this:
The last time I was at Oshkosh for Airventure in 2011, you could see the #Avgeek community growing right before your eyes. Each day was filled with endless tweets telling those who were smart enough to stay connected on Twitter about each new party, gathering or meetup that was materializing in real time. It was grand to see this big happy family of aviators leverage the strength of our favorite social app to make their Airventure experience that much cooler. But to illustrate the growth of the aviation family on Twitter, this year it was next to impossible for me to secure a date for my Airplanista #OSHBASH without causing some major conflict with other groups. Now, each night at the show is filled with #Avgeek parties, some celebrating bacon, others gathering together Podcasters and the people who listen to them. One night it'll be a Beer Bash, or a S'mores party will pop up over in the North 40. A few tweets is all it takes to launch a major run to Ardy and Ed's for burgers and root beer. And when the night air show comes, #Avgeek tweets will flood the Internets with incredible color commentary.
Before I go further, I need to address one topic that has been discussed internally here at the Airplanista studio. A person on my team asked if people actually liked being called an "#Avgeek," wondering out loud if the "geek" part of that hashtag could be viewed as derogatory. I thought about this for about a nanosecond before surmising that yes, of course, we in this group love that term, and wear it as a badge of honor. In fact, Wikipedia says it well: "The word geek is a slang term for odd or non-mainstream people, with different connotations ranging from a computer expert or enthusiast to a person heavily interested in a hobby." For further illumination:
I hit the Urban Dictionary to break apart the code in which many present day computer users speak. Basically, a "Geek" has both technical and social skills, and kills it on the computer while being able to translate their passion for a hobby (such as aviation) into concise 140-character tweets with ease and finesse. A "Nerd" has the technical chops to write code at blistering speeds, but suffers when put in positions to use what little social skills they have. And finally, a "Dork" is just a complete loser in every way, with the technical skills of a banana, unable to check his/her email without erasing a hard drive. You do NOT see dorks flying airplanes.
In the Twitterverse, there is plenty of rooms for Geeks, or in our case, #Avgeeks. And as this active community grows, I have been trying to come up with a way to honor some of the best #Avgeeks on Twitter. This train of thought finally found a station, and at my 2013 Airplanista meetup at EAA Airventure Oshkosh, I will be presenting the first-ever #OSHBASH Awards.

Airplanista has secured the EAA Press Tent on Wednesday, July 31 from 5:30P - 7:30P. If you were at #OSHBASH in 2011, you know we filled this great venue with passionate #Avgeeks, and it was a fun time for all. This year, I fully expect that the addition of the #OSHBASH Awards will raise the bar again and bring new attention to those who work Twitter to promote aviation.

I have secured a very generous donation for the actual awards to be presented from Florida-based Edco Awards and Specialties. Rick Cordary, a former Mooney 231 pilot with about 2,000 hours, arranged for Edco to be the event supplier for some very high-quality and super cool acrylic and stone awards that are sure to be coveted by the winners. Cordary is one of us, and if you or your company needs any sort of trophies or corporate awards in acrylic or crystal, or if you have some custom awards to produce, Edco is taking care of us #Avgeeks, and we need to return the favor.

More coming later on the details for the awards, including catagories, how to get yourself nominated, and how you can leverage social media to have your friends vote for the eventual nominees. I promise this is going to be loads of fun, and some well-deserving #Avgeeks will be going home from #OSHBASH with a smile and a very fine piece of award-quality etched acrylic.

Stay tuned right here.