The Navy in the Blue-Water Blogosphere
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 2:54 pm
My love for the U.S. Naval Institute’s blog is second only to my love of Coke Zero. Over the last week, the blog has sparked a far-reaching debate about how the Navy reacts or doesn’t interact with the blogosphere after a vice admiral left some comments on a provocative post about public perceptions of the service. It’s interesting to watch the discussion unfold. For a cheat sheet, see here.
If we on active duty don’t get engaged effectively with new media, and I don’t mean by “information prevention” methods, then we cede any relevant arguments to whoever actually shows up and is effective. Worse, we could shut down the “forceful backup” we should be getting and wind up with silly decisions that cost a lot or drive the sailors crazy.
Not long ago I had an interesting colloquy with a senior Army officer who was trying to understand how I could consider myself both a reporter and a blogger. A lot of his argument boiled down to noting that I don’t do my job the way The Washington Post does: I aggregate other people’s reporting, add my own, and also add analysis, even opinion. It was frustrating to hear that this was considered somehow illegitimate. But later in the back-and-forth it occurred to me that I didn’t do a very good job making a case for the merits of my style of reporting as a way to inform the public. So it just goes to show you this is a two-way street and people should leave themselves open to new arguments.
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