17 November 2008

User-Generated Military???

Kevin Bondelli posted an interesting video to CNNs iReport a few days ago. In it, he argues that new media/Web 2.0 can lead to an even more participatory form of government - one he terms "User-Generated Government." In the video, and his blog posting on the same subject, he has two main points:
... technology’s role in the next generation of governance should increase transparency, allow for broader feedback, and make data easily accessible for user-generated mash-ups.
Moving towards a User-Generated Government will bring more people into the process as participants, as well as allow the cognitive surplus of the American public to address our challenges in new ways.
As I was listening to his thoughts, I couldn't help but wonder how much of this could apply to the military as well. I know many companies have internal blogs in order to "address [their] challenges in new ways." Even in the Army, a few organizations have tried their hand at this concept - the better internal communication there is, the better ideas will be generated, and the better your organization will become. Army Knowledge On-line (AKO) is a site that enables some of this internal communication, CompanyCommand.com was created with the expressed purpose of sharing lessons learned between past, present, and future company commanders enabling them all to become better in the process, and, more recently, the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) began hosting blogs on various topics. AKO and Company Command.com are closed forums - you can only access them if you meet specific eligibility requirements. The CAC blogs include both open and closed forums. If you haven't checked that site out yet, I highly recommend it. There is some interesting discussion going on there. In fact, I'm certain that some of the comments kicked back and forth in those blogs will find their way into future policy or doctrine for our Army. It's certainly more than a place just to get something off your chest!

It is clear that the Army recognizes the benefit of capitalizing on the intellect of more than just senior leaders - and has for some time. So, in this current age, what more can we do? How can we become even more participatory? Or, do we even want to do so? Perhaps the mechanisms we currently have in place are adequate? Perhaps using blogs, MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter should stay as just a way to keep in touch and up-to-date with friends and family. Perhaps ... what do you think?

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