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Archive for March, 2008

Color me impressed, Navy

As a former Army guy, it usually gives me great pains to give props to the Navy.

Not this time.

I’ve got to say that I am thoroughly impressed with an official blog started aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer. The Destroyermen is a blog written by crew members who want to give a realistic, unvarnished view of what life is like on this ship. From their mission statement:

Here it is:

To deliver an authentic, unvarnished, informative and entertaining account of life aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer, report on USS RUSSELL’s contribution to the Global War on Terror and execution of America’s Maritime Strategy, and provide insight into the character of the American Sailor.

Our first objective is to offer a true-to-life picture of what American Sailors do day in and day out aboard a warship, in port and at sea. There are, after all, more blogs out there detailing life of the ground-pounding variety than you can shake a cat-o-nine-tails at, but precious few that tell about American Sailors at sea.

Second, most Americans know few if any members of the military and little more about the military than its general role in society. So, one way to think of this blog is an unofficial civil-military relations project keeping the West Virginia miners, Montana ranchers, Iowa farmers and Boston software developers up to speed on what their Navy’s all about.

Third, we hope to provide insight into the U.S. Navy’s participation in the Global War on Terror and execution of America’s Maritime Strategy. To date, the Army and Marines have been grabbing all the headlines (both good and bad), and there’s been scant reporting about what the Navy’s been up to for the last six years. From the Philippine Sea to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Gulf, we’re in it up to our main trucks and somebody’s got to tell the story.

And that it does. The blog features great photos of what is going on aboard the ship. One of the interesting trends is a series called “Eye Candy for Sailors,” which shows pictures of the cool things sailors do on the job.

It works because it is authentic. It’s got a real voice.

The other services have some catching up to do, it looks like…

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Dear Dawn Rowan,

You don’t make friends in the blogosphere by sending (multiple!) copies of your press release, embedded in an e-mail, to a blogger.

This is especially true when your press release is about a restaurant (!!) selecting an ad agency is its “agency of record” (!!!) to run a new cutting edge campaign (!!!!) that I couldn’t care less about.

Feel free to check out some tips on blogger relations. Cause right now, Dawn Rowan, you are pretty darn bad at it. Much worse than Lucas Dressel. And LT Gay.

Regards,
Steve

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From the Associated Press:

 NATO plans to start an online TV channel to improve the image of the Western military alliance.

NATO TV will be launched at a summit next week in Bucharest, Romania, alliance spokesman James Appathurai said Wednesday.

Much of its coverage will focus on the mission of the alliance’s 47,000 troops in Afghanistan. NATO plans to have five TV crews sending regular reports from the country.

The channel will be available on the alliance’s Web site, http://www.nato.int. Broadcast quality footage will also be available for TV networks to download.

Denmark is providing much of the funding for the project, which is part of an effort to boost flagging public support in several allied countries for the Afghanistan mission.

The better question is: will people watch it? And will the people who watch it be the audience that NATO is trying to reach. I’m not sure…

hotel/tango: Miranda

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What a better way to shill for your new media practice than with a YouTube video?

In all seriousness, OSD has made some major strides in terms of use of online communications in the last two years. Perhaps the Pentagon’s greatest success is the way it has leveraged online video content — making it accessible through the Pentagon Web site, and more importantly, sharable through online channels with embeddable code and YouTube placement.

(hotel tango: Marshall Manson, my Edel-colleague formerly of DC fame, now blazing a trail across the pond in London.)

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Want to read blogs that are getting blocked by the US Air Force? Here are two ways to circumvent this boneheaded decision:

  • Use RSS. Noah recommended this approach, and it works well. He also notes a shortcoming; embedded images, audio and video will not get through, only text. Noah mentioned Feed Deamon and Google Reader. Others readers include Omea, Bloglines and Newsgator.
  • Visit the blog through a proxy server. A proxy server redirects your request to visit a site to get around a firewall. Some popular ones are Invisible Surfing and Hide My Ass. I haven’t tested this out on the USAF firewall, but it should work. If someone can confirm, I’d appreciate it.

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