The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Tweets

I enjoy listening/reading Federal News Radio and the DorobekINSIDER, Chris knows his stuff and has great guests. I came across this podcast, discussing why the Chairman tweets. The information is great, and very relevant, to businesses and federal agencies alike. With Chris Dorobek’s permission, I am including it here, along with my thoughts on the important take aways.

NOTE: The audio clip is nearly 11 minutes long. However, there are lots of good pieces and I recommend setting aside the time.

The podcast

My thoughts?

Well, first, make sure to check out the write-up and insights on Federal News Radio…. I’ll wait…. Okay, you’re back now… Here are my thoughts.

How did they start?

The Chairman and his Staff were regularly hearing soldiers ask why they were not on Facebook, on Twitter, and that their website is outdated and needed love. The Chairman felt strongly that they needed to get involved with these channels because their soldiers, average age between 20 and 22, communicate using these channels.

While not the best approach, they jumped in fast and without a real plan. In many ways they followed the guidance I gave small and mid-sized businesses back in November for a 2010 plan, only without reading my advice. :-)

While the team has been excited to become part of these conversations, and has a Facebook and Twitter presence, along with other social sites, they recognized that they were not scaling as the audience grew. They are still primarily pushing out information, listening but not responding.

Then what?

It is clear that the Chairman and his Staff are passionate about building engagement. The Chairman does the majority of his own tweeting and is concerned that the lack of active participation, active engagement, is reducing the positive impact of using these channels. To address these concerns, the team came up with a strategy focused on four key goals:

Engage, Align, Drive, Expand.

While the words sound great, they really go towards engagement. By the end of 2010 the goal is for the Chairman, and his Staff, to be not just listening, but also engaging, responding, adding to conversation, not just pushing out their messages.

Two other key points

To be successful you have to dedicate resources. Why? In the Chairman’s case they have one full-time person working on metrics, analytics, growing their efforts, etc.. As with any other channel you should measure the impact of your messages, of your involvement.

Social media, while it is simply another channel, it must be woven into your overall strategy. As the Chairman’s Staff plans for trips they plan for the role of social media just as they do other channels, other outlets. It is not something that is tacked on after the fact, it is part of their overall strategy.

What do you think? Are they headed in the right direction?


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Sterling Whitehead

The Chairman is, simply put, awesome. Read the May issue of Fast Company for an article on him. Subject: info sharing is more important than info security.

Sterling Whitehead

Try to meet him sooner rather than later. He may not be Chairman for many more years — he’s in his 2nd term now and I don’t think many people go past a 2nd term.

Carolina Laverde

Sometimes I think you just have jump-in!! I respect the Chairman for seeing the value in capturing the voice of younger soldiers. Perspective can come from all ages. I think it’s ok to fail rapidly and in turn come up with a plan quickly after.

Carolina Laverde

John -great video! I like your term hack…perfect visual. I currently use Google Reader for my research. I am not familiar with the other free resource that you mentioned. Can you please provide a link for it?