Thursday, June 29, 2006

Defense Minister Juwono has started blogging

Corporate communicators, journalists and PR hacks in Indonesia take note: your Defense Minister has just started blogging. What are you going to do about it?

If conversations with professional communicators in Indonesia are anything to go by, the answer is probably nothing. The typical attitude, especially for those over 40, is that blogs are for angst-filled teenagers writing syrupy prose and bad poetry on the Net.

They couldn’t be more wrong. Blogs are very likely to change the way businesses and organizations and businesses communicate, especially when it comes to crisis and issues management. The rise of the blogging phenomenon as a potential force in society is well documented in publications such as Fortune, Tom Freidman’s The World is Flat and Naked Conversations, a book co-authored by Robert Scoble, best known as Microsoft’s appointed blogger, and Shiel Israel.

Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono has apparently taken all this seriously and has started blogging from April. So far he’s made five postings, the first was personal and on the arrival of his grandson. His other postings were about the US Secretary of Defence, development planning and the debate on Pancasila.

His last posting, however, is particularly interesting from a issues management point of view and can be a precursor of how businesses, organizations and personalities may try to engage their detractors in the future.

Titled Military Businesses and the Reform Process, Juwono rebuts the points raised by a Human Rights Watch report of June 2006 called Too High a Price: The Human Rights Costs of the Indonesian Military’s Economic Activities.

So what does he achieve?

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