Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 28

Media emphasis Heavy3 Horizontal Vertical Horizontal Medium2 Vertical Planning Light1 None 0 Horizontal Horizontal Vertical Vertical Vertical and Horizontal Time 0 Time 1 Horizontal (social) Time 2 Time 3 Vertical (traditional) Time 4 Time 5 Combined Figure 7. Sample Communication Strategy Lines of Effort over Time represents a sort of social thermometer. The leader’s goal would be a comfortable “temperature” (correlational agreement on issues across military ranks) of about .68 to .72. This would indicate stable support of the institution by the audience but would also allow for innovation and diversity of topics over time. To achieve a comfortable agendamelding temperature among the troop formations, their dependents, and Army supporters, Army leaders might consider these five broad recommendations: Recommendation 1. Use media platforms that target audience use in ways individuals and their social communities do. Social media have become important to all members of the Army, but especially to the younger members. Even on battlefields, soldiers often stay in touch (when possible) with their families and friends via e-mail, cellphone, or other social media. Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the New York Times, is well known for saying that the Times is “platform agnostic” in terms of the way he prefers his publication to be delivered to the paying audience—just as long as it is delivered.29 This is a realistic perspective. 26 Recommendation 2. Devote significant resources to ongoing monitoring of the social media usage of members of the organization, including all levels and demographics (this would be a good staff job). Those who send organizational messages should understand their members’ use of social media. Should the message be sent by social in addition to traditional media? Or perhaps the message should be sent by social media only. Recommendation 3. Include traditional news media and social media platforms in strategic thinking. Technology is constantly changing. Businesses are using different media to target audiences.30 Businesses are, essentially, platform agnostic, motivated by profits and market share. The military, of course, has public service motivations and is scarcely agnostic in core commitments or beliefs. Nevertheless, the military can be as flexible in communication approaches as it is in combat operational planning. Recommendation 4. Do not rely only on a select few media platforms for all messages. When in doubt, reach for appropriate platforms, traditional and social. Be flexible in the selection of platforms from topic November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW