Ministry of Defence blog rumbling forward

The Ministry of Defence has been rather slow on the uptake in the social media world. Partly because they’ve just been slow – it happens in large bureaucratic organisations and partly because there are a lot of difficulties working out how best to play the communication game when lives are at stake and sensitive issues of national security are on the table. 

But there are signs that things are changing. The DefenceHQ twitter feed (previously featured* on this blog) is beginning to get the hang of tweeting and last week, the MOD’s Director of Media and Communications started a new regular slot on the defence news blog.

I was impressed by Nick Gurr’s first post. Tone and style were spot on and I’m pleased he decided to engage in a significant issue – namely the relationship British forces have with their American counterparts. The blog also allows people to leave comments – not previously possible on the defence news blog.  

Intriguingly, Gurr said the catalyst for writing the blog was dissatisfaction with mainstream media coverage – a reason why a number of US military bloggers started blogging about the war in Iraq.

He cites a couple of  recent stories: ‘totally untrue’ allegations that the MOD was somehow engaged in some sort of smear campaign against an aid worker in Afghanistan, and ‘the latest groundless allegations of MOD spin, propaganda and cover up over medical statistics (all there on the MOD website)’. 

Gurr says his aim is ‘to offer my thoughts – from the heart of the MOD – on a given subject each week or two’. Next time he’ll be looking at what British forces have achieved in Iraq. He says he ‘would welcome (polite) feedback’ and thoughts for future topics.

It will be interesting to see how the blog develops in the future.

*Last time out I called for some military style from the @defencehq Twitter feed. And they seem to have responded. Recently, they came up with this classic thus pioneering the ‘asymmetric’ use of Twitter. Brilliant.