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Archive for the ‘New Media’ Category

Hotel Tango: Pew and PR Newser

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I seldom post other people’s blog posts verbatim, but Bill Roggio (who is one of the best out there) rebuts Joe the Plumbers comments suggesting that we should get rid of war correspondents so well. I couldn’t resist.

This one is a must read (from the Weekly Standard blog):

There has been no shortage of coverage of Joe the Plumber’s foray into reporting on the Israeli military operation in Gaza. As someone who started reporting on the war as an independent reporter, I could understand PJTV’s decision to support citizen journalism by sending Joe to Israel. Sure, the decision was clearly made to generate publicity for the conservative, web-based news service, but PJTV’s decision to expend their resources is theirs to make.

After a few days of watching Joe fumble through interviews and issue his awkward opinions, it’s clear the guy is in over his head. Here’s what Joe has to say about the media and their coverage of the war:

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think journalists should be anywhere allowed war (sic). I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what’s happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I think it’s asinine. You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you’d go to the theater and you’d see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for them. Now everyone’s got an opinion and wants to downer–and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers.

I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you’re gonna sit there and say, “Well look at this atrocity,” well you don’t know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it.

First, if the media shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a war, what are you doing there, Joe? And why did PJTV send you?

Second, while embedded as an independent reporter in Iraq and Afghanistan several times, I have seen journalists do some appalling things. I could probably write a book about it, but honestly I’m far more interested in the war itself. Despite what I have seen, I believe the media should have access during conflicts. Shutting the media out would entirely concede the information to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, etc. who are increasingly developing sophisticated information strategies. Yes, there is bad and slanted reporting coming out of the combat zones, but there also are good reporters out there who can get the story right. The public needs to hear these stories to understand the nature of the war.

Third, if Joe’s spent any real time with the military, he’d know they typically don’t want reporters to cheerlead for them. In my experience, all the troops on the ground want is a fair shake (senior commanders may or may not want such candor). If something is working, they want you to tell that story, and if something is going wrong, they want that story out there too. One reason for the latter is that often the media can serve as a back door to get some problems fixed that the chain of command may be ignoring.

Finally, Joe is advocating a 1940’s media strategy for wars that are being fought in the 21st Century. We can’t roll back the mass access to print, television, the Internet, cell phones, etc. and push the news on grainy films at the theater.

The real irony here is that PJTV, a 21st Century, Internet-based news organization is sending a reporter–who doesn’t want reporters to report on war–to report on a war. And apparently Joe would love to return to the days when the news was influenced by the government and seen at the theater.

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Not only is the (in)famous WaPo military correspondent a new fellow at CNAS, but Tom Ricks also now has his own blog called The Best Defense at the new ForeignPolicy.com. Two big announcements on a Monday. Isn’t that a bit much Tom?

Old-school PAOs have heard of the “Ricks Rule.” We’ll see if he creates new rules for the blogosphere.

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DVIDS on Twitter

dvids-twitterDon’t know what DVIDS is? Don’t know what Twitter is?

I encourage you to check both out.

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Under the category of new-to-me-milblogs, check out fewl.net, a blog written by a sailor stationed in Japan.

One of my favorites is his redacted blog post, poking fun at blog censorship:

Fewl

The rest is just as good. You won’t be disappointed.

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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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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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Text messaging is the new frontier for communications.

Mobile phones are ubiquitous in the US. Tens of billions of text messages are sent and received every year.

Yet marketers are still experimenting with the best ways to tap into this phenomenal communications resource.

The DOD however, has come up with an interesting approach that I think is quite effective — they have incorporated text messaging into the America Supports You “Giving Thanks Campaign.”

This holiday season, America Supports You is giving you a new way to send your thanks to the troops – by text message! When you send your message of thanks to 89279 (TXASY) between November 17th and 22nd, you’ll receive a special thanks in return.

The really interesting part is the feedback loop they created — go to their web site and you can get the code for an embeddable widget for your blog or Web site that will display the text messages sent to troops. So not only can you participate and show your thanks, you can also show everyone else that people are supporting the troops.

Overall, this is a great way to use technology to engage with people, leverage the benefits of SMS and connect those messages of support to others online. I’d encourage you all to check it out and send a text message.

I am.

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Everyone in the Pentagon loves slides. For some ungodly reason.

So for all you Puzzle Palace types, here are some more good slides (I’ve posted some slides before) about Social Media: Evolution to Execution.

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Dear America Supports You,

Today, I noticed you have a new channel on YouTube. It looks like it was created sometime last week. Well done for putting good video online, like this one:

My praise for you, however, ends there.

Putting video online is not a communications strategy. It is a necessary step to get out your message; if it is not uploaded, it has no chance to be seen. However, it is not sufficient.

John Bell notes that this is one of the four myths of viral video:

Plopping a video on YouTube is a digital strategy. That’s the third part of the myth. It says that something that is worth talking about will find its own audience organically (i.e. with no marketing effort) and will gain viral velocity until it reaches millions. Duncan Watts would point out that most ‘viral’ things die off before reaching what anyone would claim is a tipping point of volume. If part of a digital strategy includes video(s) that will grab people’s attention then we need to support them with smart, authentic promotion. Viral videos go better with outreach and advertising. This seems couterintuitive if you as a marketer are using video to raise awareness of some engagement opportunity with your brand online. Now we want you to promote the promotion? If you are designing a truly engaging experience for your users than this will make sense. If you want to use video as your entire strategy, then it may not make sense.

Not surprisingly, in four days, the five videos uploaded to your page have accumulated fewer than 100 views. Combined.

Compare that to this one clip of Miss Teen South Carolina answering a question about education (with hilarity ensuing):

That clip, in just two days, has had over 2 million views on YouTube.

The trick to successful online video is (a) having compelling content, (b) making it sharable and (c) letting people know it is out there.

You have taken the first step. Time to get moving on the other two.

Best,
Steve

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