EFF No Longer Protects A****les?

If that's the case, then quite a few of us are in trouble.  In fact, I would say almost everyone with a blog qualifies to some degree or another.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation has long stood up for the rights of those involved in new and social media.  As politicians and the law have struggled to understand and come to terms with the changes created by technology, and within media technology itself, the EFF has been there.  They have helped champion justice in the electronic frontier, and supported those who blogged anonymously for personal safety -- an important thing.  They have helped some of those in the milblog community I do believe.  Personally, I've been glad for it and encouraged support for it.

However, this morning I read something rather disturbing over at the Jawa Report.  It started with this story about an anti-jihad blogger pulling a fast one on someone determined to out him.  It quickly morphed into something more, best seen here

Jillian York is on the staff of the EFF, as Director for International Freedom of Expression.  Her comments in support of outing the anti-jihad blogger because he was an "a****le" are in direct contradiction to the policy of EFF, and all previous precedent.  As they appear to have been made in her official capacity, and not personal, I was concerned enough that I e-mailed some of the leadership of the EFF to ask some questions. Questions that included asking if she was, indeed, speaking in official capacity for the EFF. 

So far, I've only heard back from member of the Board of Directors Brad Templeton, who responded with "If you have a problem with Jillian, bring it to the attention of her superior.   That is not me." 

The lack of response to the questions, and the response of Mr. Templeton, do not inspire confidence.  So much so, that unless and until this matter is addressed, I withdraw all support for the EFF and recommend any of you who have or do support them examine the matter and make your own decisions.

I am very well aware that individuals within an organization are entitled to their own opinion -- it's why we have a portion of the bylaws of Cooking with the Troops protecting that.  However, we also have provisions in for who can speak for our organization, and what happens if someone claims to without sanction.  I'm also well aware that even private, protected speech can have a negative impact on an organization:  there's a reason I don't blog about politics much anymore, as I've found it has a negative impact on CwtT. 

When someone can be seen as speaking for an organization, they have a much higher level of responsibility to clarify for whom they are speaking.  This is not about attacking Jillian York, no matter what Mr. Templeton mistakenly appears to think.  It is about clarifying for whom she was speaking, and if this represents a fundamental change to an organization that has done a lot of good for bloggers, online journalists, and others. 


Why I Hate BlogWorld LA

I've just got to come out and say it.  Yes, I hate BlogWorld LA.  Here's why:

•  Hundreds of experts speaking.  You always tell people you come to events like this to learn, but...  It is a bit intimidating to be hit with new concepts, tech and research issues that you didn't even know existed (but should have), and some synergystic concepts within the first couple of hours. Then, to have someone explain a complex problem and give you a quick way to deal with it, well, enough of those "Doh!" moments start to hurt.

•  Speakers that actually mingle and engage with attendees.  Let's face it, at most conferences the big-name speakers (and quite a few of the small) hide out in the green room or speaker's lounge and away from the riff raff they are there to address.  Having them come out, talk, engage, well, it's just not right. 

•  An exhibit hall with a lounge attached, and power at the tables in the lounge.  Exhibit halls are meant for pushing people through, not for having them mosey, sit, talk, and spend time in.  This truly is against the natural order of things. 

•  Reasonable space.  Conferences should either be crammed into a small area so you can hear multiple presentations at once, or in a too-large space so you bounce round like a pea in an empty C5 and need shuttles to get from one session to the next.  Having good space, reasonably spaced-apart facilities, and room to grow, well, it's disorienting.  I would suggest to the BWE staff that getting Segway as a sponsor might not be a bad idea at the current rate of growth, however. 

•  Business Hours.  Okay, so a good conference or trade show should be a 12 hour day.  Do you have to make it 15-17?  You have pre-opening networking, keynotes, all-day sessions, working dinners, and then evening/night networking events.  When you add in the informal networking events that happen after (and because of) the "official" networking events, it is a 15-17 hour day at best, and I suspect some just gave up on the idea of sleeping.  Not fair. 

•  Troop support.  Not the flashy showy kind, but the real thing that permeates all levels of an organization.  From programming, support of the military track, to many other ways of showing support and care -- don't they realize that we aren't used to that and are much more used to dealing with hostile crowds and words, even if this isn't Berkeley? 

•  No cloning and memory re-integration.  Okay, this is and has been for some time my biggest beef with BWE.  If you are going to have this many good speakers (200?+?) and panels, the least you can do is have a cloning booth along with a re-integration facility so you can get to all of them.  To not do so is just taunting and mocking. 

Yeah, we are having a horrid time out here.  Marcus, Rachel, Mandy, Kristina, and a number of veterans are also upholding tradition and closing down, er, making the most of all events.  Think the motto may well be sleep, what's sleep?  Those of you who are missing this, you've missed a good one. 


Blog World LA -- Military Track

Well, we are getting close to the event, it's just about nine days away.  The people who attended last year were asked what panels they wanted, and we were able to deliver:

So, last year we asked those attending what they would like to see on this year's track. We listened, and have a stellar line up that should be of interest to all attending Blog World.

Our first panel on Thursday is at 1:30 pm (1330 hours) and featuresdocumentary film maker and communications consultant JD Johannes talking on "Quit F'ing Guessing: Using Math and Behavioral Economics to Win the Battle of Ideas" He will be sharing tried and proven means of measuring and maximizing the impact of your blog.

Our second panel starts at 2:45 pm (1445 hours) and features Jim Brown of Slingshot SEO, talking on "SEO for Specialty Content" He will be exploring how SEO and content marketing are not just for large blogs, but especially important for those dealing with specialized content.

The final panel starts at 3:45 (1545 hours) and deals with the very serious topic of "Blogging Through Loss." Rachel Porto, a military widow, and Mandy Myers, who's lineman husband was killed on the job, will talk about the ups and downs of dealing with the loss of a loved one while sharing life and loss in new and social media.

If you are military, military family, or mil-supporter, drop a line to bwemil at cwtt dot org and you can get a code for a free Expo Pass that will get you into the military track and the exhibit hall. 

Please help spread the word, as we would like to give the excellent speakers a full audience. 


Blog World Military Pass

Yes, I know this is a bit late this year, but...Attention all active duty, veterans, mil-family, & mil-supporters:

If you would like to get a free pass to this year's military track at Blog World & New Media Expo LA, the drop a line to bwemil at cwtt DOT org.  Let us know who you are, and we will get the information to you. 


Congratulations TAH!

It really doesn't seem like it's been five years, but it has.  Today, This Ain't Hell turns five. I've found some of the most honest and frank discussions of issues facing the military there, along with the outing of phonies (like this dou-che and this dancing dou-che) and some very good humor.  Keep up the good work Jonn, and maybe you can even get TSO to start posting again... 


Blog World: A Very Different Military Track

Well, the word is now out at the Blog World Blog, so I want to say it here: Yes, Virginia, there is indeed a military track at Blog World LA this year. 

In fact, it is a very different military track based on the feedback and suggestion from those attending last year.  You let us know what you wanted to see, and we worked to make it happen. 

The topic that got a lot of people talking last year was when JD Johannes talked about Gross Ratings Points and some other interesting things.  Everyone wanted to know more, so JD will be doing a panel on “Quit F’ing Guessing: Using Math and Behavioral Economics to Win the Battle of Ideas” He will be sharing tried and proven means of measuring and maximizing the impact of your blog.

Another topic that people wanted to learn about was SEO for milblogs.  So, Jim Brown of Slingshot SEO, will be talking on “SEO for Specialty Content” He will be exploring how SEO and content marketing are not just for large blogs, but especially important for those dealing with specialized content. 

The final panel of the day deals with the very serious topic of “Blogging Through Loss.” Rachel Porto, a military widow, and Mandy Myers, who’s lineman husband was killed on the job, will talk about the ups and downs of dealing with the loss of a loved one while sharing life and loss in new and social media.

Once again, the good people at Blog World and New Media Expo will be providing free passes to the Military Track for those currently serving, veterans, and their families.  We are working on the registration process, and will let you know more when that is worked out. 

You let us know what you wanted, and we are doing our best to bring it to you.  Based on what those attending this year tell us, we will try to make it even better next year.  So, if you want to see something different, come this year, participate, and let us know. 


Blog World & Military Track

Okay, we just finalized the last panel for the military track at this year's Blog World and New Media Expo.  There are a lot of changes and surprises this year, starting with the fact that it will be in Los Angeles Nov. 3-5.  That's right, for all you types who just couldn't stand Vegas, this year it is in LA. 

What's going to be on the military track?  Well, keep an eye on the Blog World site as we will be announcing there.  I can tell you it is going to be very different, and that if you are truly interested in reaching audience, having a provable effect, and dealing with the unexpected, you will want to be there.  Our track will be on the 3rd, but it's not quite all-day.  Why?  Well, you need to check out the site and see.  We may have a surprise or two to come, but those remain to be seen. 

Just a friendly heads-up to the community. 


DOD announces Initial Military Strategy for Cyberspace Operations

Thanks for the welcome, Matty O. I'm grateful for and honored by the invite to join this stellar team.

Yes, this beast called "cyberspace" and "cyberspace operations" is piquing interest in various places in and out of the defense arena. Although the Deputy Secretary of Defense and I did not coordinate this, I thought it appropriate to start off my contributions to Blackfive by sharing the "big news":



WASHINGTON, July 14, 2011 – The Defense Department’s first strategy for operating in cyberspace is a milestone in the fight to protect the nation from potentially devastating network attacks, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said today.

Lynn addressed an audience of military and civilian officials, educators and reporters at the National Defense University.

“We do not know the exact way in which cyber will figure in the execution of [DOD’s] mission, or the precise scenarios that will arise,” Lynn said.

“But the centrality of information technology to our military operations and our society virtually guarantees that future adversaries will target our dependence on it,” he added.

“Our assessment is that cyber attacks will be a significant component of any future conflict, whether it involves major nations, rogue states or terrorist groups,” the deputy secretary said...

So what does this mean?  Well, for one thing, DOD is trying to get its arms around this nascent beast and figure out what it means in real terms.  Lately we've had senior leaders use terms like "Cyber Pearl Harbor" and "Cyber 9/11" to describe a possible worst case threat.  However, few really know what that means or what DOD (and the Government writ large) can/should/must do.  Moreover, how should the Services and Combatant Commands organize, train, man, etc to meet the threat?

For me, the part I was waiting for a ruling on was this:

 Treating cyberspace as an operational domain like land, air, sea and space, operating and defending department networks and training and equipping forces for cyber missions.

While the geeks and zealots are probably doing the jig - thinking they've achieve some victory or recognition - it means that some very entrenched ideas are either going to have to be detonated, reworked, massaged or contorted so that cyberspace (whatever that means) is applied.  Laws have to change, forces created and/or wrested from the Military Services, roles and missions across the board relooked completely.

And the doctrine...oh, the doctrine!  (Ok, a bit of joy for me - I'm also a bit of doctrine geek).  Yeah, this is going to be fun to watch (and share in measured doses)...

I'll leave it at that for now...


Blog World (and more?) on GMA This Morning

If any of you have the chance, you may want to check out Good Morning America at the 0900 hour this morning.  Seems that one of the roving reporters at this year's Blog World wasn't from new media but from the show, and will have a story up sometime during that hour. 

While I sincerely doubt that the military track, milblogs, Cooking with the Troops, or Soldiers' Angels will be a prime part of this, you may catch a glimpse or a reference.  What you will see featured is the rest of the story, and why attending Blog World is something that I highly recommend for anyone with an interest in new and social media (or the chance to make money from same).