Like a lot of organizations the DoD wants to blog but just doesn’t quite understand how. The D-Ring does a pretty good job of identifying the problems:

In its defense, the For the Record “blog” does have some of the foundational qualities that make a blog. It consists of postings in a reverse chronological format. It provides links to outside sources with commentary and opinion. But that is where the similarities end.

For the Record has been criticized as a shoddy attempt to rebut negative conversation about the war in Iraq and the Department of Defense. All this Web site does is link to a given article from the mainstream media and blast it. And it comes across as quite petty.

On top of that, For the Record misses the whole point of a blog — community. There is no blogroll, no ability to comment, no conversation. It follows the traditional DoD model of communication that says “we will send our messages to the people from up on high.”

I do a bit of blog related consulting, sometimes a lot, and blogs like For the Record are why people hire me. They know they need a blog but they’re smart enough to realize that they don’t understand the details that make a blog work. The folks at the DoD either didn’t think about taking that route or management dumbed down the blog and removed the features that make a blog relevant. Bureaucratic management tends to suck like that. At the very least they should have taken one of the excellent active duty bloggers and given them a full-time blogging gig.

Defense Tech: The military’s latest move is this: a website solely dedicated to rebutting claims made by the mainstream media. Check it out. It’s a gas.


  1. Capt. Ben Tupper

    Well put. I think the challenge may be that blogging (and the freestyle criticism that is at the core of the art of blogging), are fundamentally in conflict with a hierarchical and rigid organizational stucture (such as DoD).

    Its a dysfunctional marriage at best (critical blogging and DoD), but the fact is its also an arranged marriage forced by the popularity of social media.

    What does the future hold for this necessary marriage between real,quality blogs and Dod? My hope is that DoD will recognize that criticism makes us stronger, not weaker, and having some angry dogs biting at their heels may just make them march down the road a little faster and more efficiently.

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