Southwest Airlines: Coming of Age in the Blogosphere

From Paula Berg, Manager of Emerging Media for Southwest Airlines.  Paula will speak at the Austin AMA’s Keynote Luncheon, part of the Power Lunch Series, on Thursday, May 21.  This month’s luncheon will be held in association with the Online Marketing Summit, a national educational event for marketing professionals.

April marked our third full year in the blogosphere, and I think the following photo sums up our experience.

Lindsey in plane suit on computer

Whether on a plane, in a plane, or in a plane costume, we’ve been completely consumed with social media.  I often joke that we haven’t slept in three years – which would be funny if it weren’t true – but I think we’ve finally turned a corner.

First, we’ve grown.  What began with two passionate Employees pursuing social media in addition to their day jobs has become an “Emerging Media Team,” with six of the most talented, creative, and passionate people I know.  We can now take vacations without taking our blackberries (gasp!).  Not that we would, but theoretically, we could!

Second, after all of the blood, sweat and tears, the sleepless nights, the blunders and the triumphs, I think our social media efforts may have finally “come of age.”

If one blog year is equal to 10 human years, that would make us about 30.  And, if you look at our evolution, that seems about right.

Our first year, we were learning to crawl, figuring out how it all worked, and finding our voice.  Our second year, we found our stride, we discovered our rhythm, and we gained some confidence.   By year three, we were fearless, we took risks, and pushed the envelope.

And, now, as we enter our fourth year in the blogosphere, we’ve matured a bit, we know who we are and what we need to do.  Today, we’re focused on doing it all better.

While we’ve learned from our past mistakes, we know there will be more to come.  We named our team Emerging Media rather than social media, because we want to continue to grow and evolve.  And, if we want to stay ahead of the curve, we’ll have to continue to forge through unchartered territory.  But that’s what makes it exciting.

We’re ready to mount that corporate blogging horse, and as we say in the airline industry.getting there is half the fun!

At next week’s meeting, I’ll share where we’ve been, where we’re going, our biggest successes, our biggest failures, and every lesson we’ve learned along the way.  I hope you will join me.

In the meantime, feel free to share your successes or failures, lessons you’ve learned along the way, your fears moving forward, or anything you’d like to discuss when we meet next week.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Paula’s presentation at the April Keynote Luncheon will be held in association with the Online Marketing Summit on Thursday, May 21, 2009.  This national educational event for marketing professionals offers the opportunity to learn and share with hundreds of peers and experts in Social Media, Search, Email, Analytics, Behavioral Targeting, and Website Strategy.  You can register for the full event or for the luncheon only.  Join us!


Paula Berg

Paula Berg is the Manager of Emerging Media for Southwest Airlines, the nation’s leading low-fare air carrier and the largest domestic airline in terms of Customers carried. Over the last three years, Paula has managed and developed the Company’s corporate blog, “Nuts About Southwest.” In 2007 and 2008, “Nuts” was named Best Blog by PR News and has been recognized in major publications ranging from Wired Magazine to The Wall Street Journal. In addition to managing the Company blog, Paula leads Southwest’s online communication and social media efforts.

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