Tag Archive | "defense"

Tags: , , ,

7 lessons worth learning from the Navy Social Media Handbook


This post was originally published in Federal Computer Week on November 29, 2010, and it was written with Kristin Bockius of Microsoft.

Kristin Bockius is relationship and social media marketing manager at Microsoft’s U.S. state and local government business. Mark Drapeau is director of public-sector social engagement at Microsoft. The opinions expressed in this article are their own and do not reflect the official position of Microsoft.

The Navy’s recently published Social Media Handbook has some good lessons for everyone.

Geared toward Navy commanders, the handbook is intended to encourage the use of social media and provide some guidance on matters of online etiquette, privacy, security and related issues. However, although the handbook is Navy-centric, many of its ideas and best practices apply across the government.

Here are some of the takeaways we found, along with insights we gathered in developing a similar guide for Microsoft’s public-sector customers.

Get guidance from the top. Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan, the Navy’s chief of information, clearly supports the Navy’s use of social media. Such senior-level support is necessary for any corporation, agency or institution that plans to engage in social media conversations. Employees should not be confused and wondering if they may or may not use social media or how they may use it. Now more than ever, they need some structure and guidance.

Keep an ear to the ground. The handbook points out that social media provides a great way to learn about your employees’ thoughts and concerns. That is incredibly insightful. Social media can indeed be a great indicator of things going right or wrong at your organization.

Protect your brand. The Navy’s handbook points out that service members and employees who use social media are always brand ambassadors and should act accordingly. We take it one step further: Your actions and reactions online affect not only your reputation but also your professional affiliation. Thus you must act in a way that is proper for yourself and your employer.

Keep the brands simple. For our work in state and local government, we use two big brands — @Microsoft_Gov and Bright Side of Government — rather than breaking up our content by solutions, such as e-mail or cloud computing, or audience, such as states, cities and counties. In many cases, we feel that such divisions unnecessarily dilute a brand and make it harder to engage in consistent online conversations.

Centralize brand management. The manual reminds people that anyone who is establishing a social media presence must register that outlet with the Defense Department’s public affairs office. That makes it possible to roll up all the activity into a master online directory. Our own company could do a better job of this, considering the many brands and social media accounts that we have.

Have a response plan ready. For an organization such as the Navy, having a crisis communications plan is somewhat of a no-brainer. But that is true of all kinds of organizations. Your public relations team should have a crisis plan in place — for before, during and after conversations — so you can manage any crisis or rumor that arises. All brands are increasingly at risk for public criticism. Acknowledge that and plan accordingly.

Save your work. The Navy’s handbook suggests that people should selectively choose what to archive and even use screen shots to do it. But these days, you can find cheap or free tools to help you archive everything automatically. For example, many government agencies already use SharePoint to share enterprise content. You can now get a free, open-source SharePoint plug-in that can help you manage archiving.

Overall, we think the Navy’s social media guide — like the Air Force’s flowchart for online rules of engagement that preceded it — will provide valuable information about social media not only for the military services but also for agencies across the federal government and beyond.

Posted in External WritingComments Off

Tags: , ,

Government 2.0: Where’s The Urgency?


This post was originally published on Mashable on October 1, 2008.

Recently I had the chance to attend an event called “Government 2.0 and Beyond… Harnessing Collective Intelligence,” which was hosted by the Department of Defense’s Information Resources Management College (IRMC). It had all the makings of a public relations boon: High-profile speakers like David Weinberger (who blogged from the event), corporate sponsorship, media coverage, and a new auditorium to show off. Alvin Toffler, the author of Future Shock, was even there. But what I didn’t see among the people in the room was urgency.

Much lip service was given to welcoming new technologies, openness, information sharing, transparency, and collaboration. But there was no talk of a strategy, a plan, or a roadmap. Frankly, there was no talk of anything concrete in the way of actual progress towards Government 2.0, as the title of the event would lead one to believe. And while I am certain that DOD Deputy CIO David Wennergren was genuine when he spoke about the future of command and control being a more agile system of “focus and converge,” I am also certain that people in my workplace have Dell laptops so old they have time for a power nap during boot up.

This is particularly embarrassing given that one of the speakers, Bruce Klein talked in detail about Cisco Connect, their “next-generation workforce environment” that includes an encyclopedia, feeds, blogs, chat, and virtual meetings. No one discussed why the Department of Defense didn’t have this capability, and no one asked. More embarrassing still, Cisco Connect is very similar in principle to something the government already has – the Intelligence Community-built INTELINK, that I have used and written about before; the word “INTELINK” was never uttered out loud.

As the event was winding down, I heard a line not unfamiliar to me at this point, about everyone in the room being an “agent of change” that had to help. I became a bit frustrated with this and Tweeted the following:

While it’s probably inappropriate to “benchmark our enemies” in a Mashable post, I think it’s safe to say that terrorist and criminal organizations don’t need pep talks in wood-paneled conference rooms to adopt new technologies and gain a competitive edge. In the battle of bloviating versus trial-and-error, who wins?

One of the panelists, the co-author of Wikinomics, Anthony Williams, quipped that “The Ontario Government blocked Facebook, so everyone moved to MySpace. It’s a futile exercise.” Many people in the audience snickered. I don’t know about them, but I still can’t access MySpace or YouTube from my work computer. This is not a complicated multinational treaty negotiation. If everyone is so aware of the problem, why can’t we just… fix it?

To be fair, the government has non-trivial security issues when it comes to information systems – they must function alone and with each other properly, cannot be infiltrated by outsiders, and they must provide trustworthy information (imagine hacking not to plant a computer virus, but rather false intelligence or misleading geographic coordinates). The big takeaway that federal officials had from DEFCON 16 in Las Vegas was that social software has created a “perfect storm” for hackers – lots of new software, largely untested security loopholes, and a changing definition of privacy in society. As part of my Social Software for Security (S3) research project at the National Defense University I am working with government “information assurance” professionals to determine which social technologies are {always, sometimes, never} safe to use with DOD systems.

Unfortunately, all of this is likely discouraging young people – digital natives, or the Gartner-dubbed “Generation V” – from choosing honorable work in public service as a profession, and it is encouraging bright people already in Washington, DC to move on to greener pastures. It may be appropriate that a group named “Foreigner” wrote the song I quoted at the beginning of this article, because from my standpoint “urgency” as it concerns adoption of social technology tools into the defense establishment is thus far largely a foreign concept.

Dr. Mark Drapeau is an Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy of the National Defense University in Washington, DC. These views are his own and not the official policy or position of any part of the U.S. Government.

Posted in External WritingComments Off

  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Comments
  • Tags
  • Subscribe

Search this website

Post Archive