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The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging [Updated]

Update, January 5, 2008: Captain David Faggard, Chief of Emerging Technology for the U.S. Air Force, sent me an updated version of their chart, whose changes are based on your comments. The chart appears in this article, and you can click on it to download a full-sized PDF version.

You’ve probably seen many articles on companies and organizations saying that they take social media seriously. Here’s one such organization that you might not expect: the United States Air Force. Take a look at the Air Force Blog Assessment chart, reproduced below:

U.S. Air Force's "Web Posting Response Assessment V.2" chart
Click the diagram to download the PDF version (455K).

The “rules of engagement” are quite good. You might find them to be useful for your own blogs, whether personal or corporate.

WebInkNow recently covered the Air Force’s approach to social media, which is far more involved than many companies who only pay lip service to the idea. They’ve assigned someone the role of “Chief of Emerging Technology”, whose job is to develop strategy, policy and plans for the Air Force’s “communicators” and whose mission is to use or build web applications as a means of engaging Airmen and the general public in conversation. The goal is to make every single Airman a communicator.

The Air Force has quite a presence on the web, which includes:

As with the Blog Assessment chart, you might want to use the Air Force’s social media strategy as a model for your own. Check out WebInkNow’s article for more.

146 replies on “The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging [Updated]”

@Captain Faggard: You’re welcome, Captain, and thanks for dropping by! I think many people would do well borrow some ideas from — if not completely adopt — your Blogging Assessment chart.

@Mike Abundo and dave mcclure: Yeah, the Captain was quite speedy in his response. I think that’s the way military pilots operate — as Commander Tom “Stinger” Jordan said during the final confrontation in Top Gun (and yes, I know that they were Navy and not Air Force): “Bull shit ten minutes! This thing’ll be over in two minutes! Get on it!”

Rohan: No, I believe the US military would consider that “collateral damage”. An unhappy customer would be somebody like me, whose taxes paid for the bombing and strafing despite my vocal opposition.

This interesting…most bloggers in the non-military could give a rat’s ass about accuracy. Remember the Apple leaks that turned out to be false? Real money and real people were hurt there…but was the blogger? No!

Goes to show you many good things do come out of the military.

This is actually quite good. Shame about the typos, the fact that not every box has both a yes and a no, and that there are yes boxes circles emerging from boxes that don’t even have a question in them. Or is this just me being pedantic? On second thoughts, don’t answer that question.

[…] The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging — Global Nerdy This is a great system that we should all follow. (tags: internet blog blogging) Posted in Suggested Blog Reading | var idcomments_acct=’90b2fde2bc0dbc10822f063f54ad16cc’; var idcomments_post_id=’618′; var idcomments_post_time=’2008-12-31 21:02:10′; var idcomments_post_author=’Andrew Hay’; var idcomments_post_title=’links+for+2008-12-31′; var idcomments_post_url=’http://www.andrewhay.ca/archives/618′; var commentScriptWrapper = document.createElement(“SCRIPT”); commentScriptWrapper.type = “text/javascript”; commentScriptWrapper.src = “http://www.intensedebate.com/js/wordpressTemplateCommentWrapper2.php?acct=”+idcomments_acct+”&postid=”+idcomments_post_id+”&title=”+escape(idcomments_post_title)+”&url=”+idcomments_post_url+”&posttime=”+idcomments_post_time+”&postauthor=”+idcomments_post_author; document.getElementsByTagName(“HEAD”)[0].appendChild(commentScriptWrapper); […]

[…] The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging — Global Nerdy You’ve probably seen many articles on companies and organizations saying that they take social media seriously. Here’s one such organization that you might not expect: the United States Air Force. Take a look at the Air Force Blog Assessment chart, reproduced below: (tags: blog blogging comments) addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fpublicrelationsmatters.com%2F2008%2F12%2F31%2Flinks-for-2008-12-31%2F’; addthis_title = ‘links+for+2008-12-31′; addthis_pub = ”; var ecov = “sh”; document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src=’http://eco-safe.com/js/eco.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); […]

The military is pushing hard on the Social Media scene… the Coast Guard’s Commandant has facebook and a daily blog that lots of the Coast Guard Admirals do guest blogs. Blogging and social media is a great way for the top to get info out quickly and informally. Then as more service members get brave hear back what is actually going, not just what the chain of command wants to go up the flag pole.

I look forward to the update of the AirForce’s chart without the errors.

Nice find

As a former Navy ‘junior’ and a copywriter and editor to boot, I’ll lend the flyboys a hand and point out a few specifics to make the typos a faster fix (and no, Dan, you’re NOT being pedantic) …

Specifically: THREE errors in ONE public flyer, reflects poorly on the thoroughness of the organization’s attention to detail, and prompts avoidable ridicule (jokes about cursory flight checks, for starters!) so I’d add the ‘don’t post until it’s really ready’ rule…

As you can see by my own recent post on Shaping Youth for Veteran’s Day giving accolades to MyVetwork.com here: http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=3440 one can say that the military foray into social media is going gangbusters and to be applauded…so you can cross our site off any checklist of ‘ragers’ and ‘trolls’ when I offer these quick fix tips, as they’re submitted with sincerity:

1.) As noted, ‘division’ in the headline (typo)
2.) ‘Prominence’ typo under ‘final evaluation’
3.) ‘Nature’ under the ‘rager’ header…

And huge kudos to the Captain for being “on it” and conversational (tonality is key in responses too, n’est ce pas?) Great post, Joey…HNY to all!

Amy Jussel
Founder/Exec. Dir.
http://www.ShapingYouth.org

As an AF retiree whose last assignment was in the SecAF/CSAF Executive Action Group, I’m pleased to see this even in early draft form. I’m glad to see the USAF using social media to keep folks informed (I even follow AFPAA [Capt Faggard] on Twitter).

I plan to show this to our folks in NCSU’s Industrial Extension Service, and probably to folks in the Manufacturing Extension Partnership as well.

Joey,

This is impressive. The first rule of Public Relations is don’t stand still to negative news, think and react. This puts that rule into a workable framework for the web2.0 world.

We could actually change the title of the chart and make it: Air Force Web Posting Response Assessment. The Rules apply to Twitter postings, Digg, Slashdot, YouTube, Blogs, etc. It’s a very well reasoned approach that Captain Faggard is taking pro-actively.

Let’s hope other organizations follow suite… Happy New Year Joey!

Joseph

P.S. I found a post to your article in Twitter ; )
http://twitter.com/jhurtado

[…] The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging — Global Nerdy "You’ve probably seen many articles on companies and organizations saying that they take social media seriously. Here’s one such organization that you might not expect: the United States Air Force. Take a look at the Air Force Blog Assessment chart" Really rather good from an unexpected source. (tags: social networking media howto us blog military) […]

The Airforce is definitely doing the right thing. I think the fact that they are using mainstream technologies and leveraging platforms that are already built should be a credit to this Capt. and others making the decision. It sure is nice to see time and tax dollars being used more wisely than other DoD endeavors where they are paying huge $ amounts to have custom built/proprietary tech that will be outdated by the time the high priced Defense contractors even come close to completing. The AF folks are on the right path in both implementation and content. I have see a few others like Dept. of State also leading the charge to do things the right way, some examples are
http://connect.state.gov and also the contest they are running at http://www.connectcontest.state.gov
Also there is http://www.govloop.com that has a pretty good following and has more great information on what the smart thinkers in govt are doing.

Integration of these emerging technologies is def. a better use of $$ then building from scratch.

I find this to be an interesting contrast with Israli rules of online engagement, via Megaphone, where software distributed among self-selected civilians essentially sends flash traffic at critical articles and polls.

if the user chooses to go to the site, the software then casts a vote automatically, when this is technically feasible

I’m expecting the social web to be taking more of a hit during current and future world conflicts, so props to Air Force for having considerable guidelines.

“The Air Force has quite a presence on the web, which includes:

The official blog, Air Force Live
A Twitter account
A YouTube page
Widgets and podcasts ”

Yes! But we in the service of the Air Force CANNOT reach the official blog NOR the YouTube page. They’re blocked from our machines!

WADR, some of you are too quick to praise this. It still needs work.

All soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines take an oath to defend the Constitution, including the First Amendment. They’ve got no business regulating free speech. Letting them set up a program to proselytize or propagandize the American people is a very slippery slope.

PR is still a legitimate activity, as in “fix[ing] the facts”, but the people in uniform have no business molding domestic public opinion. Supporting a war effort, or defense program? Fine. Justifying it? OK. Telling us how to think about it? No way.

There’s a lot to the chart that’s highly questionable. “Notify[ing] HQ” about “trolls” and “ravers”? One would hope “HQ” has better things to do, even if the airman doesn’t.

IMHO, the “Evaluate” box is flawed. Correcting “erroneous facts”? OK, maybe. Classifying US citizens as “misguided”? No. “Rectifying” a “negative experience”? No, no, no. That’s molding opinion, and a very far cry from maintaining jets, or tracking nuclear weapons. Which, BTW, has seen some mistakes recently. Let’s not spread that efficiency to regulating free speech.

As for “Response Considerations”, “Transparency” should be mandatory, not a “consideration”. Uniformed PR personnel have no business waving false flags at the taxpayers.

Seeing as “we, the people” pay for this kind of crap, I think we deserve version 3.0.

And, FTR, I’m really not interested in hearing any USAF backscatter over this. It would show that you’re really, really not very bright. Or at the very least, that your reading comprehension sucks.

[…] The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging [Updated] — Global Nerdy Really not that stupid when you think about it, even if it is accompanied by Yet Another US Army Infographic… (tags: socialmedia policy web20 blogs protocol bloggings ) […]

demophilus – where do you see that this document suggest that the USAF is somehow “regulating free speech”? What this flow chart actually suggests is that the USAF is interested in dialoguing … engaging in free speech! The idea behind this, as I understand it, is to address what is being written in the blogosphere about the USAF and its subordinate organizations.

Came here from Boing Boing, where we’re all very impressed. Even more impressed once I came here and saw that they’d responded to comments. If I weren’t wayyy too old (and way too gay) I’d be tempted to give the AF a try. They sure sound more sensible than where I work now (aside from the gay thing).

I particularly like the Tone box. It’s more or less the equivalent of “be professional” in a corporate context. I read that as “remember to act as an officer and a gentleman in writing on the web, not just in person” (yeah, I know they’re not all officers).

One thing in the current version (someone on BB pointed this out): ‘Timeliness’ usually means “respond fast enough” (a good thing too; waste of time to respond to a blog post from 2005, after all), rather than “take your time,” which I would call “Deliberation.” There’s a dynamic between the two, characterized by the phrase “deliberate haste.”

Again, though, kudos Air Force, especially Captain David! If there were enough like you I’d be proud to be an American again in no time!

(Btw I know the actual armed services brass aren’t happy with DADT either, but they’re constrained by the UCMJ, which only Congress can amend—and ridiculous as the UCMJ has become, Congress is too chickenshit to fix it…gosh, might cost them the Log-Stupid vote, without which no politician in America can get elected.)

[…] The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging [Updated] — Global Nerdy – You’ve probably seen many articles on companies and organizations saying that they take social media seriously. Here’s one such organization that you might not expect: the United States Air Force. Take a look at the Air Force Blog Assessment chart, reproduced below: […]

[…] The Air Force is taking social media seriously and has shared their blog response framework. They’ve also taken feedback from the original round of comments and updated the document accordingly. It’s exciting to see an organization, especially a government one, saying their participating in social media and following through. Hit the link for a PDF version compliments of Global Nerdy.  […]

[…] The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging [Updated] — Global Nerdy You’ve probably seen many articles on companies and organizations saying that they take social media seriously. Here’s one such organization that you might not expect: the United States Air Force. (tags: airforce military engagement rules process usaf social blogging socialmedia Guidelines policy diagram media blogs) […]

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