Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

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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From AP (via Breit Bart):

DENVER (AP) – Maj. Andrew Olmsted’s “Final Post” was published onlineā€”after the Rocky Mountain News blogger was killed in Iraq. Olmsted died Thursday with another soldier, Capt. Thomas J. Casey, 32, of Albuquerque, when rebels attacked with small arms near Sadiyah, the military said.

Olmsted, who began writing for the News on May 21 and described himself as a libertarian, had written what he called “Final Post” about his death. He asked a friend to post it on his Web site AndrewOlmsted.com if he died in Iraq.

In it, Olmsted, 37, warned against making his death an argument for or against the war.

“My life isn’t a chit to be used to bludgeon people to silence on either side,” he wrote. “I have my own opinions about what we should do about Iraq, but since I’m not around to expound on them I’d prefer others not try and use me as some kind of moral capital to support a position I probably didn’t support.”

He also quoted Plato as saying “only the dead have seen the end of war.”

“The news is devastating,” News Editor John Temple said. “The major was a brave man who obviously thrived on sharing his experiences and thoughts on his blog. He provided a perspective on Iraq that would have been impossible for a journalist. Our thoughts are with his wife, family and unit.”

The Department of Defense said Olmsted and Casey were assigned to the Military Transition Team, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan.

Olmsted leaves behind his wife of 10 years, Amanda Wilson, of Colorado Springs.

“Believe it or not, one of the things I will miss most is not being able to blog any longer,” Olmsted wrote. “The ability to put my thoughts on (virtual) paper and put them where people can read and respond to them has been marvelous, even if most people who have read my writings haven’t agreed with them. If there is any hope for the long term success of democracy, it will be if people agree to listen to and try to understand their political opponents rather than simply seeking to crush them.”

Maj. Olmsted also blogged on the Rocky Mountain News Web site.

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Weblogs a decade old

Dear Pentagon,

I think these “weblog” thing that the kids are talking about on the Inter-tubes are catching on.

From BBC:

The word “weblog” celebrates the 10th anniversary of it being coined on 17 December 1997.

The word was created by Jorn Barger to describe what he was doing with his pioneering Robot Wisdom web page.

The word was an abbreviation for the “logging” of interesting “web” sites that Mr Barger featured on his regularly updated journal.

A decade on and blog-watching firm Technorati reports it is tracking more than 70 million web logs.

These things might be here to stay…

h/t: Smart Mobs

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The Army is blogging!


The U.S. Army has a contestant in this year’s Miss America Pageant — Miss Utah, or Sgt. Jill Stevens. She is a veteran of Afghanistan and a member of the National Guard, and she is blogging about her experience in the competition.

They aren’t calling it a blog, probably as not to intimidate the higher ups who still don’t get the “interweb.” But that’s what it is. It is a series of personal entries, published in reverse chronological order, updated frequently.

Though others might disagree with me (so far she has written about singing holiday songs and practicing walking in heels and posing), I think that this is a great way to humanize the Army. Every Soldier story is different, and this certainly is a unique one. It may not sound like a traditionally “hooah” story, but this story has legs (really — no pun intended). Using a blog to help tell the story is quite effective.

Also check out the other multi-media incorporated into the site — a Flickr page, a YouTube page, a downloadable poster, a slide show

Overall, A+ to the Soldiers Media Center for putting together a great online package.

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A bunch of friends have forwarded me this article, or news like it (thanks all!). From the Washington Post:

The State Department, departing from traditional public diplomacy techniques, has what it calls a three-person, “digital outreach team” posting entries in Arabic on “influential” Arabic blogs to challenge misrepresentations of the United States and promote moderate views among Islamic youths in the hopes of steering them from terrorism.

The department’s bloggers “speak the language and idiom of the region, know the culture reference points and are often able to converse informally and frankly, rather than adopt the usually more formal persona of a U.S. government spokesperson,” Duncan MacInnes, of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs, told the House Armed Services subcommittee on terrorism and unconventional threats on Thursday.

“Because blogging tends to be a very informal, chatty way of working,” MacInnes said, “it is actually very dangerous to blog.” So State has a senior experienced officer, who served in Iraq, acting as supervisor and discussing each posting before it goes up. “We do not make policy,” MacInnes added.

The State Department team’s approach is to join a blog’s conversation, often when it turns to the motivation for U.S. policy toward Iraq, and when others are claiming that the U.S. occupation is meant to help Israel or to secure oil. “Our job is to address that motivation issue and show them that that’s not the motivation,” MacInnes said.

It’s dangerous to blog??? I understand his point, but come on.

How about the State Department, rather than censoring and reviewing every blog post for consistency with department policies and goals, institute one simple blogging rule: blog at your pay grade.

Simply put, if you blog about what you know about and discuss matters related to your job at the level of your responsibility, while adhering to principles of informational security, there is no reason that blogging should be considered “dangerous.”

Perhaps it is people like MacInnes whose gloom-and-doom views of blogging are keeping it from taking stronger roots in the federal government.

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Becoming a micro-niche

Or, in other words, how do you carve out your space in the blogosphere?

I had an interesting back-and-forth with prolific PR blogger Todd Defren of SHiFT Communications about the role of leadership in the blogosphere.

While he noted several A-listers such as Scoble, Rubel and Weiner, I pointed out that in the blogosphere is not a monolithic entity, and there are several niches and micro-niches that have their own leaders.

The trick with blogging is carving out your niche and owning that space. Demonstrate your leadership with your specific area of expertise.

Take my blog for example. Does the D-Ring have massive readership? Of course not. Blogs with much broader appeal, such as Danger Room and BlackFive are much more highly trafficked. The defense communications industry is a niche within a niche; it doesn’t appeal to everyone.

But I do try to make the D-Ring a first stop for people who are interested in military public relations.

Your niche within a niche doesn’t have to be large. Take, for example, the new blog by Mark Goode of CommerceBasix, a small defense contractor focused on acquisition reform. A tiny community. But his blog is well written, he does a great job of participating in the blogosphere (he tipped me off to his blog with a very well crafted e-mail introduction/pitch), and he showcases his company’s expertise.

Mark is working on owning the defense acquisition space in the milblogosphere. And I bet that he and his company will succeed.

So ask yourself — what is your niche in your niche of the blogosphere?

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So last month may have been Blogtober, but this month is NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.

Do we really need another reason to post? Oh well. Happy Blog Holiday. Blog on.

(h/t DCTriGirl)

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