Posts Tagged ‘blogs’


DoD Social Media & Outreach Efforts

July 18, 2008

Speakers: Charles Holt & Jamie – US Department of Defense

Topic: How to integrate social media (blogging, podcasting & other new media) with traditional channels to maximize your communication efforts and results


The DoD is becoming more attuned to digital natives; those aged 18-25. Along with being raised in generation “me” the DoD recognized many of their incoming recruits were intermediate to advanced users in social media. The traditional military hierarchy had to adjust. Paraphrasing the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates stated in the featured video clip, “It is a sad state of affairs when Al Qaeda is better at communications than the US.”

Charles and many of his colleagues have started creating a culture within the DoD where social media is not only accepted, it is embraced like traditional media. Of course the DoD is similar to many other organizations. They tried many social media applications and test them for their functionality before committing resources to their upkeep.

Their outreach efforts were very similar to DHS by conducting blogger roundtables. In addition the DoD has their own blog as well as their own online video channel where they post as many military videos as possible.

DoD Link Blog:


As a result of the social media presence, the DoD is maintaining a presence in the blogosphere even when they are not on the national news. As items become more popular they are getting new requests for information that may have been disseminated days and months ago. For video they use feedroom.

A key lesson learned is to always upload linkable source information. By doing this, members of on-line communities can argue over the facts and not opinions that very well could be based on inaccurate information.

Key Thing to Remember:

The DoD has experimented with many social media applications and found what works best for their organization. Perhaps your organization should take on a similar mentality.


Recap: Workshop B

July 15, 2008

Speaker: Eric Eckl from Water Words That Work

Topic: How To Monitor Community Conversation, Distinguish Opinion Leaders And Become Successful Ambassadors To Online Communities While Building Your Organization’s Reputation


Eric covered a great topic this afternoon. We are often reminded good listeners equal good talkers and Eric emphasized the importance of listening early on in his presentation. Listening comes first, talking second sounds much easier than it often plays out. Eric’s presentation certainly emphasized Social Media is relationship intensive and listening is the foundation of creating relationships in the social media realm. Networking is very critical.

Four parts guided the discussion this afternoon, they included:

1: Public discourse
2: The online influentials and their work ethic
3: Social etiquette
4: Five tough questions

What do you think?

1) When you reflect on your experiences, is traditional media is fading slowly from your typical consumption of journalism? What type of answers do you have?

2) Did you have an impression about the influentials? As your involvement with social media increases how do you believe you can become tuned into the influentials existing in your organization and use them to your advantage?

FYI – The names of influentials were:

Joy Towles
Tom Elko
Glenn McAnamana
Ginny C.

Key Point:

The Pareto Principle a.k.a “The 90/10 Rule” impacts many projects, especially those involving social media. This is a difficult piece of information to overcome in cases where ROI requires specific figures. To this point, Eric certainly stressed how the 10% of influentials have a large impact on the thoughts, opinions and actions of the remaining 90%.


Everyone’s Doing It…

July 13, 2008

Peer pressure isn’t just a tactic that teenagers use to get their friends to do stupid things (ask me about the time when, in a weak moment, I thought that I could be the only ones of my friends to jump my bike over a creek…it didn’t end well), it’s a tactic that I like to use when talking about social media, especially when speaking to my government clients.

Social Media can be very intimidating, especially for organizations who are typically resistant to change, and are very risk-averse.  Because social media can carry significant risks if not used correctly and because there isn’t a social media degree or certification upon which you can identify qualified people or organizations to implement social media, there’s a certain fear around using social media within government agencies.

  • What’s the best way to get started?
  • I don’t understand what all the buzz is about
  • Are there other examples of this being done successfully?
  • Nobody on my staff has the time or expertise to do this
  • What’s the benefit of using social media?
  • There’s too much risk and potential for something bad to happen

Here’s where peer pressure can be a good thing.  Guess what – everyone’s doing it [social media] already.  Take a look at this article that gives some really good examples of where the government has already incorporated social media into their strategies.  Make sure that you scroll all the way down to read the comments where even more examples and real-life success stories are being debated.  Another good resource to where else social media is being used successfully is – check out their list of government blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts and other social media.

So you see, there are others who are doing it, who are doing it successfully, and who are very willing to talk about how social media has worked/not worked for them.  So come on, everyone else is doing it – why don’t you give social media a try too?


Putting the “public” in public comments

June 18, 2008

Kudos to the Environmental Protection Agency for using social media to collect feedback from the public. According to, the Office of Environmental Information set up a blog to collect comments from the public and other government agencies, seeking new practices and tools to make environmental information more accessible.

From the article:

To collect comments, EPA launched a temporary blog on the agency’s Web site. The blog ran from June 9 to June 13. EPA will release a summary of the comments June 20.

The short timeframe of the blog encourages more contributions, said Frank DiGiammarino, vice president of strategic initiatives and business development at the National Academy of Public Administration.
“Have the conversation, get the data, then find the next thing that’s hot and go with that,” DiGiammarino said.

The blog isn’t the first time that EPA officials have asked members of the public for advice. The OEI launched a temporary wiki, which it kept up for 36 hours, to gather information about how best to clean up the Puget Sound in Washington state. That effort, even with its short duration, attracted more than 17,000 page views and 175 good contributions.

Government should use social media more to collect public comments. After all, Seventy-five percent of all adults say they use the internet. The Federal Register lists thousands of notices for public comment. Could you imagine how many more comments would come in if social media tools were used?

The EPA is leading the way. My only question to them is…why take these communities down? I’m not convinced the short timeframe encourages more contributions. Let the conversation grow. I read about the EPA initiative after the fact and now I’m out of luck. I guess I’ll wait until the next time.