I was recently invited to participate in a Blogger Embark to visit and spend the night on the USS Nimitz off the California coast along with a dozen or so other bloggers at the end of May. When I got the invite, I just about fell out of my seat — my first thought was COOL.
But very quickly, my second thought was whether it made sense for me to go. As you can imagine, the military isn’t something I write about, and clearly, the Navy PR team is hoping to get some good coverage out of it. Moreover, I’m personally ambivalent about military action, but at the same time grateful and indebted to the people who put on a uniform in the service of our country.
Guy Kawasaki is the lead blogger behind this adventure, having visited the USS Stennis last October — you can visit his blog post that includes many, many photos of the ship, but more importantly, the people. It was his post that convinced me to accept the invitation, because there is a story to tell — in fact, multiple stories to tell.
So I’ll be flying from San Diego and landing on an aircraft carrier at sea. I have several topics I’ll be exploring on the trip, which I’ve detailed below. But I’d also like to hear from you — if you could go on an aircraft carrier (!) what would you like to see, what would you like to learn? I’ll do my best to report back what I find.
People’s stories: Being at sea is a unique experience — how do the women and men of the Nimitz approach and deal with it? How do they stay connected with family and friends at home? I’m following a few Twitterers on the Nimitz and hope to connect with them once onboard. Like Guy, I will post as many photos, videos, and interviews as I can so that folks back home can catch a glimpse of their loved ones on board.
Organizational structure and operations: How is a “tight ship” really run? There is an excellent article on how to manage people in the chaotic, restrictive environment of a carrier — and there’s a lot for businesses to learn from this. And note this — every 40 months, there is an almost 100% turnover of the carrier crew. Talk about managing in a stressful environment!
Blogger outreach: How is the US military reaching out to bloggers? What are the goals, expectations, and measurements they will use to gauge success? What do the bloggers think of the Navy’s outreach efforts?
The ship: And of course, I’m going to really enjoy just being the ship and at sea. To prepare, I’ll be watching all 10 episodes of the PBS series “Carrier” to better understand operations and life aboard the Nimitz.
I consider myself very lucky to be going on this trip, and want to bring back and share as much information as I can. So please, let me know how you think I can/should maximize this opportunity.