Blogging to elicit response…

In an unprecedented move (to my knowledge), the AAA has created a blog in order to share their latest statement on the U.S. Military’s Human Terrain System (HTS) project. While I think they made a bold statement and I am very interested as an anthropologist to see how this plays out, the most interesting thing to me as a cyber anthropologist is their use of a blog in order to elicit response to their statement.

While I applaud their step forward with a blog, I don’t believe they understand how to truly utilize a blog or what the purpose of a blog is. You can see this by their failure to actually post what they are blogging about. Instead, they provide a link AWAY from their blog in order to read their statement. Not only that, but who ever posted the statement on their website failed to format it properly. I’m not trying to be critical here, only pointing out that organizations making attempts to branch out of their modus operandi should seek advice about doing so if they are unsure how to go about it. Otherwise, these organizations end up doing more of a disservice to their audience than the good they originally intended.

The amount of work I have to go through to get to what I want to get to would seem to me to be a bit of a deterrent for those who are not as cyber-patient as I am. By cyber-patience I mean that I am more willing to go through things to get to what I want before I give up than most others are simply by virtue of spending as much time as I do online and being easily able to filter out the good and bad distractions before I get to frustrated with the process. It takes a lot to frustrate me online, however, with my new job I have to step back into the average users shoes and see it from their point of view.

  • First we have to log into our email.
  • Then we go through our email deciphering what is spam, what is important, and what is bacn for later.
  • We find an email from AAA stating the executive board has made a statement on the HTS project.
  • We click on the message to read our email.
  • We read the email that tells us about a blog on the statement we’ve been eagerly anticipating. It does not list what the statement is, or the contents of the blog, or responses that have since filtered through. Instead, it just tells us there has been a statement issued and that the AAA launched a blog to solicit member comments and that the blog includes text of the statement
  • We click on the link to go to the blog, taking us away from our email and the task we were originally performing.
  • We get to the blog to read that the AAA has made a statement and get a bit of an explanation of why they made the statement and what it was about.
  • We get to the end of the blog post to see a link to the AAA site where we can actually find the statement we went through this entire process to get to.

It would have been simpler to have included the statement in the email, include it again on the blog with the option to comment, and include a link from the blog to the statement on the website just for posterities sake. This is what I mean by doing a disservice to their audience rather than the good they originally intended. So, while I give the AAA kudos in finally catching up with the 21st century, I suggest they have a little more to learn before it actually becomes useful for them or their members.