Information from the Department of Defense — including press releases, news stories and information from their signature America Supports You program — can now be accessed from Blackberrys and other mobile devices, according to a Pentagon release issued today.
From the release:
The new, mobile-device-friendly format can be accessed at http://www.dod.mil/mobile, officials affiliated with the project said.
“Having the ability to access the most current Defense Department information while you are on the go is especially important in the fast-paced communications world in which we live,” said Allison Barber, deputy assistant secretary of defense for internal communications and public liaison.
Offering a mobile-device-friendly format to disseminate defense information “is another way we are trying to better serve our globally based audiences, providing them the most up-to-date news and information on the war on terror and other related activity,” Ms. Barber said.
The new format is specifically condensed to better fit onto the tiny viewing screens featured by most mobile devices, said Tom Dorsz, Web production supervisor at American Forces Information Service.
Maximizing and integrating new technology is the mission of the new media team, said Roxie Merritt, director of DOD’s new media unit.
“On your mobile device Web browser, simply type in http://www.dod.mil/mobile to view the top news and press releases that are customized to fit your screen,” she said.
Customers will see much of the same information and many of the photos and graphics that appear on the regular Defenselink Web page, available at http://www.defenselink.mil said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brook DeWalt, AFIS’s new media operations manager.
My first thought: This is great. It is good to see that the new media division has some news to announce.
My second thought: The new media division was created about four months ago… and THIS is the first piece of news that they have? That they have repackaged news so you can see them on mobile devices?
In all fairness, it is great to see that the DoD is integrating new technology into it’s communication tool kit.
But with all due respect, Ms. Barber, Mr. Dorsz, Ms. Merritt (three very capable and accomplished communicators), focusing only on the technology misses the point. New media — blogs, wikis, social networks and the like — are not about the technology. They are about changing the way that people interact with information.
Communication can no longer be about top-down methods and hierarchical structures. Your audience wants to interact with you, to play with the information, to be involved with their government.
Repackaging your news feeds to be read on a Blackberry is nice, but it is not the essence of what the new communication environment is about.
On a positive note: I now have some names attached to the new media shop at the Pentagon. If any of you are reading, I would love to hear from you (e-mail, comment, smoke signal, whatever) and talk about the DoD’s use of new media. Join the conversation. We’re waiting.