26 August 2009

Uncle Sam Wants You ... to weigh in on new media policy

the Department of Defense has recently launched a blog (discussed in several articles) to seek input from the public as the department seeks to develop new policies concerning all things new media. According to the new DOD blog, it's purpose is to seek out "insight from various Defense interest groups and think tanks, including Veterans groups, industry groups and individuals who have insights they can share regarding how Web 2.0 capabilities can be used to transform how the Defense Department operates." Posts on the blog have dramatically slowed (looks like the last one was 13 Aug) - not sure what that's all about - but the posts that are there have a decent number of comments. Clearly this issue is one that is of interest to many. Weigh in on the discussion over on their blog where their clever slogan is: "Collaborating about collaboration, Soliciting public input though Open Government".

Also, Patrick Thomas, a doctoral student at Kent State University, left a comment on a recent post here on this blog requesting participants for a survey he is conducting as part of his research into military blogging. Specifically he's looking into "blogging practices—how and why they blog, and their perceptions of their blogs’ audiences" and is "interested in what military blogs add to a growing body of research on the importance of social media (like blogs) in people’s everyday lives." I recently completed his survey - it took less than 5 minutes. If you are a military blogger, I encourage you to take the few minutes to help him out in his research. He's got a consent statement left as part of his comments that he asks you read before taking the survey.

14 August 2009

Interactive Field Manuals: A Reality!!

Wow! The Army has made a giant leap into making use of new media. We had a discussion on this blog a while ago about the concept of interactive field manuals - electronic manuals in which Soldiers could leave comments, ideas, videos, etc. It's becoming a reality, according to a recent news report.

According to this story, the Army has opened a number of manuals up to wiki-style editing. And, any Soldier can do the editing. Interesting! The story also states that there are a number of manuals that will not be opened to editing - our capstone doctrine. That makes perfect sense. There are some foundational pieces of our doctrine that need to be developed in a more organized fashion. But for those more tactical level manuals having interaction with Soldiers is an incredible step for the Army.

There is a permanent team identified for each manual that is responsible to review all edit. Also, Soldiers must post edits under their own name, and since we have to log in with an ID card, there's not a way to be anonymous.

I haven't played around with the manuals yet since I just heard about it this morning. Once I experiment a bit and see what the use has been like so far, I'll put some more thoughts together and share them here.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Being executed well? Share your ideas.

**QUICK UPDATE, 4 Sep 09: seems like the Army's pilot project is getting a pretty decent response although there are still several significant concerns to work through. See this Stars and Stripes story for more details.

03 August 2009

Wings Over Iraq: Blogging and Senior Military Leaders

Starbuck, over at Wings over Iraq, posted some interesting excerpts about the role of blogging in the military. Particularly, the role that senior leaders see for it. I won't rehash it here (he's got several links if you want to read even more on it.)

Suffice it to say that this "new media" buzz is much more than just buzz anymore in the military. It is true discussion about the pros and cons of it and the opinions still widely vary (primarily for the reasons discussed elsewhere in this blog.) I expect that the discussion will continue for some time and we won't find true consensus any time soon. In the meantime, I still think this is one great outlet for the stories to be told and for folks to be able to read about what life is like from a Soldiers perspective.