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A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

Engaging in a Now Media Continuum

By Chris Dufour

image This post is based on Chris Dufour’s presentation at the MountainRunner Institute’s Now Media 6 July 2010 seminar. This seminar will be held again in 2010, so stay tuned.

This past Tuesday, July 6th, 2010, I got the opportunity to speak as part of the MountainRunner Institute‘s “Now Media” seminar at the National Press Club. For the less sharp-eyed out there, I’ve been proud to call Matt Armstrong (MRi President and a highly AWESOME blogger) a friend for some time… even before he provided the first forum for Must. Be. AWESOME!!! in its proto-stage. A few months ago, Matt asked me to help him transform his blog, MountainRunner, into a full-fledged nonprofit institute devoted to the study of and conversations about public diplomacy and strategic communication.

One of MRi’s key offerings is a seminar Matt honchos about “Now Media,” his concept of understanding the existing and emerging media environment as it relates to influence and engagement. These seminars give us an opportunity to wrap up everything we learn into something useful for communication practitioners. At this particular event, we had attendees from the U.S. Marine Corps public affairs team, the State Department, and even a contingent of Indonesian bloggers visiting the States on a State Department exchange.

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MountainRunner Institute at InfoWarCon 2010

By Chris Dufour

This week kicks off the second year of AOC’s InfoWarCon in Washington, DC. Subtitled “Future Warfare Today: The Battle for Information & Ideas”, the three-day gathering sports luminaries from different information disciplines beyond information operations, or IO. Joel Harding, the director of AOC’s IO Institute, has put together an agenda with panelists from across the spectrum of informational engagement: strategic communication, public diplomacy, public affairs, technology, and emerging media. The stated purpose of InfoWarCon is to advance the discourse about the evolving role of information in warfare of today and tomorrow, especially the kind where explosions, in the case they actually occur, are shaping events in support of information activities.

InfoWarCon provides the necessary forum to discuss the real and perceived differences and similarities between information warfare and communication in a modern competitive landscape where information, not platforms, matter most. This environment is one where dissemination and reception are increasingly disassociated from geography as audiences are less likely to be contained within the borders of traditional nation-states.

The opportunities and threats of this modern environment can reduce autonomy, empower, or both. Typically, the empowerment to the non-state actor, whether a group or individual and the restriction on acting unilaterally is on the state. The easy answer for this situation is agility to operate in today’s dynamic, fluid, and hyperactive information environment. No longer do major powers solely rely on direct force-on-force combat to achieve strategic objectives. Similarly, non-violent communications campaigns conducted by private organizations or individuals can no longer succeed without considering the competitive information landscape.

InfoWarCon will provide the opportunity to discuss the issues related to this evolutionary, perhaps even revolutionary, environment and the resulting splintering of doctrine and perceptions of influence.

Chris Dufour is a Senior Vice President at the MountainRunner Institute and will cover InfoWarCon starting with Tuesday evening’s kickoff reception. (See this page for the week’s full agenda.) He will live-tweet the event from @MRinstitute, MRi’s Twitter handle, using the hashtag #IWC2010. If you plan on making it out to InfoWarCon this year, ping Chris on Twitter and contribute your thoughts and observations using the hashtag #IWC2010 (“eye”-w-c-2010).

Guest Post: Must. Be. AWESOME!

By Christopher Dufour

Too often in government, we settle for the most expedient solution. The cheapest option. The quickest way. The path of least resistance.

We justify it by quoting acquisition regulations. By glomming onto existing authorities. By refusing to challenge the status quo.

It’s this attitude that prevents us from accomplishing big goals. Immense objectives. Tremendous challenges. Gi-normous grand strategy. Instead, we choose to do just enough to get our assignments completed to a preexisting or arbitrary standard. This is the culture of Washington.

We shouldn’t make this choice. We shouldn’t be shooting for "just good enough." Instead, we should be shooting for AWESOME.

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