I have mentioned in the past that United States Central Command (the military component that oversees combat operations in the Middle East) is quite progressive when it comes to new media. It is a joint command, and each service underneath CENTCOM has their own component command.
I am really impressed with the Navy component that falls under CENTCOM, known as NAVCENT. Despite having less money and fewer resources than their parent command, they too have been incredibly forward in adopting new media.
I just received an announcement that they have a new podcast highlighting Sailors serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. And this podcast is actually a podcast. While other services have offered audio content for download, you can’t really call it a podcast unless you offer it through RSS syndication, which NAVCENT is doing.
On top of this, the announcement was done in a transitional version of the first ever “social media press release” distributed by a military organization.
For readers outside the PR community, the SMPR is a concept that is being discussed among professional communicators to make the tired old version of the press release more user-friendly for bloggers, journalists and other writers in a social media world. While the Navy’s version doesn’t look much like SHIFT’s version (I believe that SHIFT’s Todd Defren was the first to take a stab at the SMPR), and it doesn’t have the hosting/conversation qualities of StoryCrafter, which was announced by my company this month, it is an impressive and progressive attempt to recognize the increasing importance of new media. The current NAVCENT version is Digg and del.icio.us friendly, has technorati tags, and includes embedded links in the release.
While it is not a perfect version (I think everyone in the public affairs world is still trying to get their arms around this issue), I think this is an incredible first step. Although I need to ask — why did you put this out the day before Christmas?
To LCDR Brown and LT Trammell, my hat is off to you. Your work indicates that NAVCENT is ahead of its peers.
Come on Army. You are letting me down. You need to catch up to these guys.