DOD to launch Web 2.0-intensive site

The new Defense.gov site will feature greater use of new technologies, in hopes of appealing to younger Web users, one official says.

The Defense Department will launch a new homepage Aug.15 that incorporates Web 2.0 technologies as part of a militarywide and governmentwide effort to use new media capabilities, a DOD official said today.

The Web site, at www.defense.gov, will be a complete overhaul of the site that now exists, said Les Benito, public Web director at DOD’s Defense Media Activity office. The site will include new modes of user participation, and interactivity will be a driving factor in the site’s shaping, he said. Benito outlined the plans for the new site at the Open Government and Innovation Conference in Washington.

Users will be able to post questions for high-ranking military officers or the defense secretary, give their own feedback about DOD services and take advantage of other similar interactive features, he said.

“We’ll be basing a lot on things like user feedback and search results,” Benito said. “It’s like a portal to the Defense Department – how to do business with us, how to get involved. Some of it will be similar to Google monitoring,” a feature that tracks Internet traffic.

Benito hopes the new features will tap into the social media’s explosive popularity and help capture the coveted demographic of persons ages 18 to 24 years that has eluded DefenseLink, DOD’s current departmentwide homepage. Users in that age group account for only about 4 percent of DefenseLink’s visitors, while most fall into the age range of 48 to 54 years.

Benito outlined the plans for the new site at the Open Government and Innovation Conference in Washington yesterday.

“These new technology tools change the way people look at the organization, the way people look at information and how collaboration takes place,” said Michael Piller, experiential learning manager of the Information Resources Management College at the National Defense University. “These tools are incredibly powerful,” he added.

Defense System's owner, the 1105 Government Information Group, sponsors the conference.

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