Archive for the ‘Bloggers’ Category

How not to communicate

Great shot by Michael Yon. He is one of the best. If you aren’t reading him (and/or contributing to his continued journalistic efforts), you should be.

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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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A new must read

I don’t know Guy Hagen, but I must say I am impressed with him.

Guy is the president of Innovation Insight, a Florida company that specializes in technology development and research consulting. He has a great post on military and new media communication. I’d encourage that you read it.

I am not sure I fall in line with his thinking 100%. For example, I think that the recruiters are way ahead of the rest of the military on new media adoption; the use of web 2.0 to help with recruiting is at the bottom of his list, almost as an afterthought. Also, I am not sure that the Pentagon’s approach to new media (where and when it does) is quite at the level of “strategic PR” as Guy suggests.

But his writing is great and you can tell this guy is smart. On top of that, he knows how to talk to bloggers and what makes a good pitch.

Intel2.0 is now on my reading list.

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E-mails to bloggers like this.

To catch you up, a blog posted an image from DVIDS of a female Soldier. DVIDS is a distribution service managed by the U.S. Army for the Department of Defense to get out video, audio, written and still image content from Iraq and Afghanistan to the media and general public.

The image wasn’t unflattering at all — it showed her doing her job. The blogger (completely within the terms of use on DVIDS) downloaded the picture and attributed it to DVIDS. He did, however, (and I’ll admit, somewhat inappropriately) label the image in a post titled “Our Best: Babe Edition.”

He goes on to receive a message from a NCO chastising him for calling the woman a “babe” and asking him to take down the reference.

I’d read the e-mail exchange between the two as a case study of how NOT to approach this situation. It is also a mind boggling example of creative grammar and punctuation by a public affairs NCO. Last time I checked, the public affairs people were supposed to be the professional communicators…

h/t: Kaye

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And State. And Commerce. And Interior…

At least that is what Sen. Clinton is advocating, should she become president.


Somehow, with the federal bureaucracy the way it is, I don’t think her official administration “bloggers” will be sharing information in the way she envisoned…

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Ok… so I’m a week late on this one (he announced it last Tuesday on his blog), but for some reason I just got the post in my feeds this morning. Damn you, Bloglines!

Here’s the (not-so) scoop:

“Teflon Don,” the milblogger who regaled us with his impressive prose and chronicles of his deployment to Iraq on his blog Acute Politics, is going back to Iraq — this time out of uniform.

From his blog:

I am not going back with the Army, this time, though that may still occur at some point in the future. I am going back of my own free will- I am becoming a participant in this great experiment of independent, citizen journalism. I am going back to Iraq as a photojournalist, accredited by the recently developed Public Multimedia, Inc.

If you would like to donate towards the purchase of equipment for my trip and receive some return on your investment (besides quality journalism, of course!), there is a new photo album up. Viewing is free- the photos are also available for purchase as high-quality prints. All proceeds will go directly to benefit citizen journalism.

This is great news, in my humble opinion. TD is an incredible writer. The community of milbloggers thinks so too — he handily won the Milbloggies last year for best U.S. Army Milblog.

If you have any doubts, read this. After reading that post, I subscribed to his blog.

I’m be excited to see what he brings us next…

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Come on, Bryan

So I thought Bryan from the Center for Security Policy had learned a bit about pitching bloggers since he last pitched the D-Ring (here and here).

Apparently I was wrong.

I just got another pitch from Bryan. And from it, I give you today’s lesson on blogger relations:if you have pitched a blogger before, and have had multiple back-and-forth exchanges with him or her via e-mail, do not re-introduce yourself and your organization in a subsequent pitch. At that point, the blogger should know you and who you represent.

That is the consequence of sending out form e-mails to bloggers. Without a personal touch, they undermine the relationships you have worked to establish.

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I can’t believe I haven’t found this one sooner.

<Steve kicks himself>

I encourage everyone interested in government communications and new media to check out SoSaidThe.org, a blog by Colin McKay (the Canuckflack).

While you’re there, be sure to read his thoughts on blogger outreach for government agencies.

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Commemorating 9/11 online

Most of the blogs that I follow had something to say about 9/11. Below, I’ve called out three.

Each is different. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

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For years, the military has been warning that soldiers’ blogs could pose a security threat by leaking sensitive wartime information. But a series of online audits, conducted by the Army, suggests that official Defense Department websites post material that’s far more potentially harmful than blogs do.The audits, performed by the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell between January 2006 and January 2007, found at least 1,813 violations of operational security policy on 878 official military websites. In contrast, the 10-man, Manassas, Virginia, unit discovered 28 breaches, at most, on 594 individual blogs during the same period.

The results were obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, after the digital rights group filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act.

“It’s clear that official Army websites are the real security problem, not blogs,” said EFF staff attorney Marcia Hofmann. “Bloggers, on the whole, have been very careful and conscientious. It’s a pretty major disparity.”

The findings stand in stark contrast to Army statements about the risks that blogs pose.

“Some soldiers continue to post sensitive information to internet websites and blogs,” then-Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker wrote in a 2005 memo. “Such OPSEC (operational security) violations needlessly place lives at risk.” That same year, commanders in Iraq ordered (.pdf) troops to register their blogs “with the unit chain of command.”

Read the full story here.

(h/t Beltway Blogroll)

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