The Department of Defense has a blog?
Well, yes and no.
I’m not sure anyone in OSD Public Affairs would call it a blog (or are especially aware of the blogosphere). But people in the blogosphere are calling it a blog.
I say if it is, it needs a lot of work.
In its defense, the For the Record “blog” does have some of the foundational qualities that make a blog. It consists of postings in a reverse chronological format. It provides links to outside sources with commentary and opinion. But that is where the similarities end.
For the Record has been criticized as a shoddy attempt to rebut negative conversation about the war in Iraq and the Department of Defense. All this Web site does is link to a given article from the mainstream media and blast it. And it comes across as quite petty.
On top of that, For the Record misses the whole point of a blog — community. There is no blogroll, no ability to comment, no conversation. It follows the traditional DoD model of communication that says “we will send our messages to the people from up on high.”
Online communication is not so simple. When you start communicating in the online world, it is not enough to talk at people; you need to have a conversation with them.
Giving credit where credit is due though, I must compliment the blog’s author on his or her November 16th post (I would give the permalink, but For the Record doesn’t have any). It is an incredible act of humility and honesty to recognize when you have made an error. It also is a huge boost to your credibility. Well done on that.
But that is where my praise ends. I am sure the blogosphere appreciates that you are wading into the waters of online, communal communication. But with all due respect, DoD, you have a bit of a way to go.