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Chatting in Iraq: The DOD and Online Chat

FCW.com: DOD chat use exploded in Iraq

The U.S. military, especially the Navy, relied heavily on chat rooms as a means of communication during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Although the technology performed admirably, it poses new challenges.

I think this is good for the progression of social software into businesses. Like so many innovations before them, online communication tools may need to pass the military test in order for conservative businesses to see them as something they can really use. Perhaps the military’s successful implementation of these tools will spur business leaders to take a new look.

But, as the article relates, it wasn't 100% successful. The consolation is that it is new and relatively untested. I'd be willing to bet that it worked enough to figure out a way to make it work better in the future. Some of the problems in the article:

Sorber said coalition forces found that the simplest knowledge management tools, such as chat, worked best during the war, but they also have built-in limitations. These include:

* They are unable to effectively handle large amounts of information.
* They lack automation tools that can turn information into knowledge.
* The procedural controls delay the automation tools' capabilities.


Wired wrote a similar article that I commented on at leelefever.com.

A funny quote from that article:

"What's funny about using Microsoft Chat," he adds with a sly smile, "is that everybody has to choose an icon to represent themselves. Some of these guys haven't bothered, so the program assigns them one. We'll be in the middle of a battle and a bunch of field artillery colonels will come online in the form of these big-breasted blondes. We've got a few space aliens, too."

Via: Corante Many-to-Many