08 January 2009

A useful defensive blogging tool

The Air Force recently released a flow chart describing how to assess blogs that have posted something about the USAF or a subordinate organization ... and help people decide how to respond. The flow chart is quite colorful and written in simple and clear language. It seems to be a pretty useful tool for folks to use. I believe the intent of this flow chart is primarily for organizations to use, but it could be extremely useful for individual Airmen (or as far as this bog is concerned, Soldiers). I won't comment more on the document itself: there are plenty of posts in the blogosphere already discussing its merits and potential problems. A couple of them worth looking at are:
  • Global Nerdy
  • Web Ink Now one of the comments on this post from Matt Scherer reads: "The problem with the Air Force is that while they have an ongoing social media strategy, they don't have the authorization to get fulltime access to Twitter and other blogs. Their communication types don't want to allow them outside the firewall. A few proactive PA types are now getting a laptop that allows them to see what the world is blogging about, but until this happens, the Air Force is woefully way behind." This is also a problem for the Army and one that needs to be addressed - we need to know what's being written, so we can know what to (or not to) respond to. It's not ever good to be the "last to know"
I do want to highlight the five considerations:
  • Transparency - tell folks who you are
  • Sourcing - write based on your experience or observations; else clearly cite your sources
  • Timeliness - too slow on the draw and your comments will be missed
  • Tone - got to remain professional
  • Influence - spend your time on "high payoff targets"
I think these are right on the mark ... they match up with guidance issued by LTG Caldwell to his command as well as with the fundamentals of information outlined in public affairs doctrine and link well with strategic communication guidance. All in all, I think this flow chart will serve to be a very useful resource for organizations and individuals as we all find ways to more effectively use new media to engage the public we sworn to protect.

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