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Blogs Hit the Mainstream

Posted by Becky Carroll on July 18, 2008

It seems to me that when the US Army Corps of Engineers is blogging, blogs have hit the mainstream.  There was an interesting article in The Military Engineer, May-June 2008, about Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, USA, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and his new blog Corps-e-spondence.  In the blog, Gen. Van Antwerp covers a variety of topics such as flooding in the Midwest, the current state of New Orleans, the water crisis, as well as hiring, leadership, and even baseball (see the picture of him throwing out the first pitch at the Cardinal’s game)!

Gen. Van Antwerp was quoted on why he is blogging in the article, as well as in this video on the Army’s media site:

“This is the way of the future.  We should be out there, too – clearly and openly communicating with the American public every chance we get.”

Is it effective?

The blog seems to be a great way to communicate more about what the Army Corps of Engineers does, as there may be many people that don’t really know what types of projects they take on.  It also gives readers a view into the Gen. Van Antwerp’s leadership tenets and style.  The blog is updated every few weeks, and it is already getting a variety of comments.  It could be improved with more interaction from Gen. Van Antwerp back to his commenters to really create a conversation, rather then just a communication tool.

The Army is blogging – what about you?

Does a blog fit into your organization’s goals for interacting with customers?  Could you use it to better listen to what customers have to tell you?  Perhaps your company could use a blog to create a discussion around certain topics of interest to your customers.    Setting goals before starting a blog is key to making this social media tool successful.

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3 Responses to “Blogs Hit the Mainstream”

  1. Andrew said

    Becky,

    I just found out about this NASA blog today (http://www.opennasa.com/) and was very impressed. Along with everything else that NASA is doing, I think they definitely get it.

  2. jhsml said

    The use of blogs by people in CEO-type positions – particularly in order to communicate with the wider public rather than just inside the organization on an intranet – is a really interesting phenomenon. Unfortunately, due to potential liability concerns, corporate lawyers seem to be discouraging its growth, afraid that their bosses will inadvertently commit the firm to something inappropriate, or make some other error exposing them to litigation. As a result, posts may be over-vetted, or the CEO-blogs just never get off the ground.

    But, as you know, there are many companies that do this at differing levels – especially the one you suggest – very successfully. Hopefully it will grow. And you’re right – seeing the Army get out front on this (even though it has an “unfair” advantage regarding the potential for litigation) should be an eye-opener for the rest of us.

    Thanks for such an informative, enjoyable post!

  3. This is my second visit to this blog!

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