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Thursday, August 6, 2009

And then there's social media.

I have to say I laughed when I read that Stars and Stripes had accused the military of having "social networking schizophrenia."

First, social media was all the rage. I even wrote a story about the Air Force developing a new office for new and emerging technologies, which is located outside the Pentagon because they can't access those sites in the DOD.

The Air Force restricted most social media sites. Funny, because they had created Facebook pages, their own YouTube, known as BlueTube and were on Twitter. Plus, commanders, PAs and others were blogging. Although, I heard from some Air Force friends that access depended on your command or your base.

The Army lifted the ban about a month ago on sites like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and a few others, encouraging soldiers to tell their stories.

It's something I heard constantly, any variation of we want our people to tell the "real story" without being filtered by the press.

And then DOD contemplated a department-wide ban on social media. That was just last week.

This week, the Marine Corps banned all social media sites, effective immediately.

It is interesting that a community that strives for standards and uniformity is having such a hard time deciding what to do with...Facebook? Sure, they could be security risks.

But, former AF PA director, Maj. Gen. Darren W. McDew told me in February when he was here, that social media is like most things, there are risks, but they need to figure out what those are and develop ways to use the applications and mitigate the dangers. By the way, he's my friend on Facebook. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen, has a Twitter feed.

According to a Stars and Stripes article,
Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn has set a Sept. 30 deadline to hash out the issues and decide how the DOD will move forward.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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