View from the top at 2010 MilBlog Conference

A panel of military leaders, moderated by Jamie McIntyre, www.lineofdeparture.com, spoke this afternoon at the 2010 MilBlog Conference.

Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs (whew), joins this year’s panel and is a great proponent for social media within the Department of Defense. Having just released DTM 09-026, opening up access to social media across the DoD network, Floyd speaks candidly about his encouragement of social media but also his awareness of the potential risks and the need to mitigate those. (My kind of guy – he understands the power but hasn’t drunk the kool-aid).

Floyd also takes a very un-self-serving perspective on social media, noting that as a senior leader in the Department of Defense it opens up critical opportunities for two-way dialogue.

The engagement works to not just inform the audience but also inform my understanding, said Floyd.

In addition to Floyd, the panel featured Adm. J.C. Harvey, Jr., Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and Col. Gregory T. Breazile, U.S. Marine Corps, Director of Communications, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan. They spoke of their familiarity and interest in social media as well as the challenges faced by leaders looking to enage.

“I’m still a learner, somewhat of a skeptic…I think there is a lot here that we can do and learn and it takes a bit of a plunge, especially for someone in my position, someone not just representing myself,” said Adm. Harvey.

Questions and answers for the panelists focused on the need to get more official information out faster, leadership challenges, and technical concerns. It’s always refreshing to see a group of military leaders, regardless of the service, engaged and taking on accountability for social media and blogger outreach.

“Commanders can change the environment and stress ‘we want to tell the story.’ When the commander sets rules like that it enables people, it frees you up to tell the story,” said Col. Breazile.

What would you like to tell military leaders about social media? Do you agree that the biggest challenge is in educating our “middle managers” in the military? Let us know in the comments section.