By Mr. Kevin Downey (IMCOM)February 26, 2009
CHIAfaEURoVRES, Belgium Aca,!" The breakneck development of social media has allowed surgeons to "tweet" from the operating room, as reported on CNN this past week.
If you're not sure what "tweet" means, or if you can't "digg" surgeons giving short, real-time updates while removing cancerous tumors from a man's kidney, Army Secretary Pete Geren has a message for you: "Find a blog to be a part of."
Geren told a Las Vegas technology trade show audience this past summer that the Army needs to "embrace every form of media, and this new medium - and particularly blogging for many people - has replaced traditional media as a way to get news."
Army leadership has looked for ways to increase the service's knowledge of blogs and new media in recent years, including creating Army-specific Web 2.0 tools (blogs, forums, social networks) for Soldiers, and adding blogging to the curriculum at the Army's graduate school in Kansas.
For the uninitiated, search Google (the correct portal reference of the moment) for "Trooptube" and "Army Second Life." Maybe start with "Web 2.0."
"Effective communication brings people over to our side, and ineffective communication allows the enemy to pull people to their side," Geren said.
U.S. Army Garrison Benelux introduced an unofficial blog called "Benelux Now" last month to increase information flow among decision-makers and community members in an informal manner, as part of its Web site re-design.
The blog is a grass-roots effort to start a dialogue in the community about USAG Benelux - a unique U.S. Army command spread out over six countries in Europe. Staffmembers with valuable perspective can talk directly to the community, such as the command's host nation liaison officer's blog entry about how an American can navigate Belgium's three official languages.
If you're not tuning in to the blog, you won't know the latest news about construction on the rue d'Ath, ChiAfA..vres commissary operations or the new lodge on post. While you're there, read a first-person account of how a young Belgian intern toured SHAPE for the first time in his life despite growing up 15 minutes away, led around by a newly arrived U.S. Defense Department civilian.
Since all work and no play would make the Benelux Now blog a boring cyber hang-out, it's also a forum for the community to share hot vacation tips, European recipes or great places to grab a bite.
With more contributors, the information becomes more relevant to you. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your blog entry and join the voice of the community.
It's starting to echo.