I'm getting asked more and more by defense industry public relations departments about this whole blogging thing. Social media has apparently become a trend that most of them can no longer ignore. Questions are asked: am I a blogger or a journalist who blogs? Have the rules changed? Which bloggers are important and which bloggers can (should??) just be ignored?
I have some long answers to these questions, but there's a short answer that is a lot more helpful: just try it.
Defense companies have been oddly immune from the blogging phenemenon, compared to their high-tech industry counterparts in the civilian sector.
Can you imagine a company like Lockheed Martin, Boeing or Northrop Grumman allowing their employees to blog about their jobs and their company's products -- with no release approval process???
I'm sure to some that suggestion sounds absurd, but there are dozens of non-official bloggers employed at Microsoft. While some Microsoft managers periodically call for one or two to be fired, the bloggers continue to go about their business. Along the way they've done much to change the perception of Microsoft as a borg-like corporate cult, as chronicled in the book, Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.
It won't be long before the same phenomenon creeps into the defense industry. Social media is becoming too pervasive and too important especially to the younger generation of workers to keep under wraps -- even in Big Defense.
The best thing defense PR types can do is to prepare for the inevitable, and experience is the best teacher (to, er, coin a phrase).