Saturday, September 20, 2008

Storing War Stories

Speaking of the military, I recently learned about the the Army's fascinating Flickr site, from where I navigated to the YouTube channel and Twitter hub also run by the Soldiers Media Center. All three social media venues are interesting as efforts at public diplomacy and institutional branding.

The content on the Flickr site indicates that managers understand many of the participatory culture conventions that are common among the free service's users. Those who post photos use a relatively bare bones "attribution" Creative Commons license to signal public domain access to these high-resolution images. They also allow for critical comments such as this one: "I saw also some photos of children killed by some americain bombing,so Why this propaganda?"Unlike the Library of Congress Flickr site, however, visitors are unable to affix notes to the image interface. Photographs of soldiers interacting with happy Iraqi children are probably overrepresented for those searching for free journalistic content to represent the war.

In contrast, the videos on the YouTube channel seem to be much less sensitive to YouTube vernacular video norms than another of the channels operated by the Department of Defense, which I write about in an article about government YouTube channels in the upcoming Video Vortex reader. Rather than present raw footage that would be useful to those seeking B-roll for other kinds of stories, the Soldiers Media Center presents short films that have been edited and enhanced with digital effects and incorporate obvious motion graphics and green screen technologies that are commonly derived from software packages such as After Effects.

The Twitter site does not seem to be using microblogging for real-time situations. Instead, the service is used primarily to disseminate web links as tinyurls, as a conventional PR news feed would.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home