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How to promote your future by participating in Internet forums

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Participating in forums such as this one can be a heady experience - you speak to people all over the world, your opinions put out there just like those of recognized experts. It's a safe-feeling way to gain an identity, be a part of the fraternity (for the hyper-PC out there, I use the term "fraternity" as follows).



1. A body of people associated for a common purpose or interest, such as a guild.

2. A group of people joined by similar backgrounds, occupations, interests, or tastes: "the fraternity of bird watchers".


Question: Are you exploiting this powerful resource to help you move more surely into the world of the professional pilot, or are you simply taking a thrill ride? To help ensure more of the former and less of the latter, you can apply some simple litmus tests to your dialogues. Remember your goal - that your participation in these forums contributes positively to your future.


Rules to Post By


Am I being factual and truthful?

"Lies, d-mned lies, and statistics". If you make claims, back them up with evidence, or the solid weight of known fact. Remember that a commonly held opinion is not necessarily fact or truth.


Am I being objective, or opinioned?

Either is OK, but ask seven helicopter pilots, you'll get eight opinions. Debate and argument comes when opinion meets opinion. Nothing wrong with that, just remember that being loudest doesn't make you right. Opinion stirs, objectivity leavens, and objective opinion is an oxymoron.


Am I listening more than speaking?

Unless you are that rare individual who captivates an audience (and chances are that just like me, you aren't), post less, read more. There are a lot of actual gurus who are able to answer that question about induced flow much more effectively. If you are using the forum to test your own knowledge, be sure to say so - "I'm really just trying to figure this out myself, but this is my understanding of...".


Am I thinking before posting?

This one should be self-explanatory. However, to re-phrase: "Am I reflecting on what I'm about to say in a public forum, to people who may well be my peers, employers, or customers?". It's really easy to get caught up in the heat of a moment, but words driven by pride, spite, anger, jealousy or fear are best left to simmer down for awhile.


Do I have an ultimate objective in my posting (what's my point)?

Most folks overlook this most obvious outcome of speaking on a public forum. What effect are you trying to have? Are you trying to educate? To encourage? To stop an activity? Change a mood? Break some news? Sell something? Why are you doing it? What will the effect be on the audience, and what will the longer-term effect be on you?


Bottom line.

The next job interview I go to, should the topic arise (and it has in the past), it will be to my benefit that I am Flingwing206 here, or Flingwing207 there, or JohnL over there. The biggest benefit of all, however, is the connections made and maintained with folks I would otherwise lose track of, or never know at all.


Fly well!

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Excellent & refreshing.


It would be nice if most people applied this to real life outside of the digital domain. Especially "Am I thinking before posting?" or Thinking before speaking.



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Hey Fling,




I've already made some great contacts and friends here as well.


I love your last point as that has been my question everytime I have posted something here on this site. Alot of people already have my real full name and I tell people freely that I am "rotoflightmaniac1", so said I want that to reflect in what I say here... and anywhere.


Thanks for taking the time to think and type all that out, you and a few others have been great contributors to mine and many others futures.


Thanks again,



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Excellent reminder to us all. I have always posted with my real name in this and other aviation forums - sometimes I wonder if I'm daft to do so - but it tends to keep me honest. MOST of the time...


There have been a few instances here and there where someone really gets under my skin, and I post a retort, only to go "oh man I wish I'd waited a day before posting that". Doh! But the guidelines presented in the original post are great things to *try* to keep in mind.


I will close with an observation - almost every day, I read VR and another forum that is more Europe/UK focused. In general, at least to me, VR tends to be more civilized - let alone the "JH" one which really needs some retooling.


"May your blades never dull",


Dave Blevins.

(any World of Warcraft game fans out there?)

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Another subtle thing to keep in mind is that you should use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Lots of prospective employers may see your posts, and if you can't be bothered to use capital letters where appropriate, can't spell, and can't use proper English grammar, then it's possible you can't be bothered to use proper procedures in the aircraft, do a proper preflight inspection, and generally take shortcuts that you shouldn't. That isn't necessarily the case, of course, but if you provide that perception to prospective employers, you've done yourself a great disservice. There are lots of dictionaries, thesauruses, etc, freely available on the internet, and you should take the time to use them if your English skills are in question at all. Little things mean a lot, to quote a very old song.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I know that even though I don't post much and I'm using an assumed name, the courtesy and professionalism I've been shown here has shown me that being a weasel is ABSOLUTELY not an option. Elsewhere I might have taken that pot shot, but I've been shown the level of respect I was hoping to find in the industy.


I'm still quite new to the industry (75 hrs, 10 turbine). Thus far, I've been through four instructors and four helos. The school I'm attending has treated everything underneath them (pilots, helos, and students) poorly. Thus, I have a tainted view of the heli world.


However once I came here, I found the level of people I was hoping to find. As a nice change of pace, I'm looking forward to the rest of my flying life, instead of dreading it like I have been for the past six months.


I have read all your posts. I have considered each of your ideas. I have listened to your advice and applied it to the best of my abilities.




To everybody: Thank you. Thank you so much.





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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

I'm brand new to posting, but have been building up by quietly reading and learning for months. This forum has given me an enormous amount of insight, objectivity, knowledge and even the occasional chuckle. With friends all over the world, I use the internet as one of my greatest communication tools. I hope that this transcends groups I make my way into the helicopter industry and that I am able to meet personally many of the VR members who have contributed here, as we are all teachers and students alike. EXCELLENT post, Flingwing, let's do our best not only to respect and preserve the integrity of eachother, this site and this industry but also to foster continual, positive growth.


Fly safe. :D

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  • 5 years later...

Whether you like it or not, your online presence can have a significant impact on your hireability in the real world. We'd all like a certain amount of anonymity in our postings, but it's not as simple as it seems.


Years ago I walked into a FBO where I'd never been before, and sat in the lobby, talking with the lone occupant. After a few minutes, he stopped and studied me, and then asked "Are you avbug?"


You won't just be known online. Be really careful if you do social media. I don't, but for those playing facebook and other teenage games, those can come back to haunt you, too. Employers check. Linked-in, and others, too.

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That's EXACTLY why I bumped this to the top, avbug. Those very things were harped on quite a bit at Heli-Success by the hiring authorities at some of the larger operations.


The internet can be a blessing in disguise or your worst enemy. A tool for you to use or your own personal poison. How you wield it rests squarely on your shoulders.

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Well look, there I am! According to the date, I posted that 4mo before I moved and started flight training. What a great read-back! It's fantastic how many VR members I've been fortunate enough to meet in person since that day. It took a few years but you all are some of the best. Thanks for the bump, Lee :D

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I've never discounted any forum I have participated in as a completely anonymous venture. I always seem to make connections with people in forums that spread to real life, whether it's helping someone with their career goals or fixing their car. I have more than a few friends I have made that started with online discussions. I'm certainly not anonymous on here :lol:

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Yup, you can maintain a certain degree of anonymity on many enthusiast forums, but thats not necessarily the case on professional/niche forums such as VR.


I had not previously read this thread, so FWIW, I would like to point out that there is a third category of member here at VR.


Besides the desire to network and advance ones career, and to go on an internet "thrill ride," there are some members here who simply enjoy participating in discussions about a topic they are knowledgeable and/or passionate about.


I discovered VR quite by accident a few years ago while on TDY assignment and surfing the web in my hotel room one evening. RW aviation is a brother(sister)hood and its nice to simply talk, meet like-minded friends, and follow the progress of members as they travel down their path.


PS - If anyone finds a grammer or spelling error in any of my posts, just keep it to yourself and know its the iPad (auto correct) and not me... ;)

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Throwing my two cents, don't post front row, hammered drunk. It's never as funny the next morning.


Not remembering what you said or why you said it can be pretty embarrassing. Minden, Louisiana...

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