Defense Industry Must Embrace Social Media
Albritton, David J., National Defense
Defense contractors are recognizing the value of engaging in social media. Online magazines and blogs - until recently considered second rate - are now becoming critical reading matter. Traditional media continue to lose readers and viewers at a rapid rate Thanks to the vast proliferation of blogs, wilds and YouTube, anyone can now become an instant news crew.
That's why success as defense communicators, civilian contractors and military leaders - depends upon the ability to keep up with, and even stay a step ahead of, a growing cadre of tech-sawy journalists and bloggers. We have to know not only what they want, but how and when diey want it delivered.
The National Defense University recendy acknowledged the importance of social networking as a vital tool for maintaining relationships throughout botii the Defense Department and its partners, including bodi contractors and die media. Fears of cyber-attacks, the university found, should not deter the use of social networking tools.
Boosting the public's literacy on military weapons systems has been made easier by the introduction of sophisticated personal technologies. Explaining the need for continual upgrades to military technology is simpler now tiiat die public has become accustomed to successive generations of personal computers widi new features and capabilities. Military technology that once seemed abstract is more readily understood in today's marketplace, such as GPS systems
Still, maintaining public support is a tougher challenge today. An abundance of on- and off-line media oudets means that the public is, at once, more informed and more critical of defense spending, especially during an economic downturn.
This is where social networking comes in.
Defense communicators are expanding their reach beyond the industry, military, trade and business publications. There are various blogs that aggregate stories from other sources and originate their own. Easy access to defense-oriented blogs has created a growing international authence for military issues, with expert commentary from civilians and military personnel, alike. As their influence grows, social networks will become increasingly used by defense communicators. Indeed, an Israel Defense Force official recendy held a press conference on Twitter.
But Twitter will be used for many more purposes in the future. Communicators can use it to monitor discussions about their companies or services. They can use Twitter to set up interviews widi executives or answer requests from reporters who are researching information for stories.
The best part of social media is the way they foster engagement and dialogue. Though the authence may be varied, it consists of people widi strong interests. They, in turn, can influence others whose attention to defense issues is more casual. Social networks tend to take an informal and sometimes downright irreverent …
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Publication information: Article title: Defense Industry Must Embrace Social Media. Contributors: Albritton, David J. - Author. Magazine title: National Defense. Volume: 93. Issue: 668 Publication date: July 2009. Page number: 15. © 2009 National Defense Industrial Association. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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