Better Ways to “Talk” about Canada’s Work in Afghanistan

Instead of just chucking rocks at Canada’s military for not taking maximum advantage of some of the great stories available in Afghanistan, I thought I’d share some “best practices” already being done out there in the hope that maybe, some of the good news can be shared more quickly and more broadly.

I’ll start off with who I’m not going to use for best practices, but NOT because the practices aren’t any good.

While the American military information-sharing machine has no shortage of slick outlets for information, including Facebook, Twitter and a plethora of other sites (like this, this and this, to show only a few), I get the feeling it takes a LOT of folks to keep all those goats fed.  While individual tools may be useful to copy or learn from, I’m not under the illusion Canada’s military can (or even should) create some massive Strategic Information Infrastructure just to keep info flowing to Canadians.

1)  The Government of the U.K. has the Frontline Bloggers site, sharing stories from people right at the sharp end (and not just soldiers).

2)  Michel Rentenaar, the Dutch government’s Civil Leader of Task Force Uruzgan and Director of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Uruzgan, has been posting via Radio Netherlands’ web site since he was deployed – his latest here.  I’ve seen Canadian soldiers doing the same with CBC.ca, but I’m not seeing as much of that anymore.

3)  The Australian Ministry of Defence appears to be much more liberal in its sharing of information from its mission in Afghanistan.  The latest examples include a statement on an IED strike on an Aussie vehicle, possible rule changes linked to recent shooting incidents, and the permanent “cease and desist” order issued to a Taliban boss in Oruzgan.  Even their Special Forces get a bit of public credit from time to time.

I close with some (belated) kudos to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for their communications work in Kandahar – election was 20 Aug 09, and photos were up on Flickr 21 Aug 09.  This is the least I could do in light of my slag earlier this year – good show!

Please feel free to share any other interesting ways to share information.  I have a bit of experience in both sending and receiving messaging, but I’d love to see other best practices that I haven’t discovered yet.