Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recording The Next 100 Years Of The ANZAC Legend

During his ANZAC Day speech at the Australian War Memorial Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the creation of a national commission to set up a program to commemorate the centenary of ANZAC Day in 2010.

The commission to be headed by former Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser will call for suggestions from communities, schools, veterans and other organisations.

Social media can play a key role both in the consultation process, recording the centenary activities and then preserving and enriching Australia's Gallipoli experience for the next 100 years.

Some early thoughts are:
  • Could the Commission use online as well as other consultations to broaden its outreach to people in regional areas, younger people and the large numbers of Australians travelling or working overseas?
  • For the first time a national wiki would allow us to link the stories of individual families and communities right across the country with the broader events in our military past.  Australia's network of councils and shires are well placed to carry the local coordination a project of this size and scope demands.
  • We should continue efforts, already underway, to ensure we have a digital photograph of each of the 102 000 Australians who have died in conflict and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial. (Assuming of course these images still exist perhaps in old suitcases or in long forgotten packing cases in garages throughout the country.)

And at an early stage the Commission should engage with Australia's multicultural communities.  With over 25 per cent of Australians born overseas, people from different backgrounds need the chance to engage with and interpret the ANZAC legend in a meaningful way.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Twitter Etiquette for ANZAC Day

ANZAC Day is fast approaching - 25 April the day when Australians and New Zealanders commemorate their countrymen and women who died in conflict.

With the increasing popularity of Twitter many of us will be sharing our experiences online as we attend dawn services, parades and get togethers around the country. But when symbolic ceremonies meet new technologies a few simple protocols can help determine what is acceptable and what might cause offence.  

On ANZAC Day Twitter can be a powerful tool to:
  • Share family ANZAC stories online. 
  • Ask others about a particular campaign or research a loved one's service history (A good place to start is www.awm.gov.au).
  • Swap details of the services, ceremonies and marches in your area.
  • Arrange to meet with friends.
  • Tweetpic our ANZAC images.
  • Share recipes for gunfire breakfasts and ANZAC cookies.
  • Tell mates where the Two Up is. 
  • Report on veterans and their units as they march proudly through our towns, suburbs and cities.

But please leave your mobile in your purse or pocket and turn off the tweets during:
  • The dawn service (between 5:30am and 6:00am on 25 April).  This is the time for quiet reflection on the deeds of those who stormed Gallipoli's beaches 95 years ago and the fallen who followed.  Tweeting is likely to annoy others if  the LCD screens of Blackberries and Iphone light up the pre-dawn skies.
  • During the bugle calls of Last Post and Reveille.

This ANZAC Day please tweet in the spirit of Lest We Forget.