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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Well, whatdya know...

The National Guard has joined the social media band wagon.

In fact, one of it's top leaders, Gen. Craig McKinley, is using Twitter. Follow him @ChiefNGB or www.twitter.com/ChiefNGB)

While the Department of Defense is debating whether social media should be allowed in theater or on military installations and the guidelines for troops using those technologies, the National Guard is pushing forward.

The general is documenting his activities, and the National Guard Bureau and many state Guard's are on Twitter and Facebook and other forms of social media.

The Guard is pulling significant weight in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and they want their story told, so they're telling it themselves.

By the way, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also Tweets. Follow him @thejointstaff or www.twitter.com/thejointstaff.

Most argue social media is a communication tool, useful in spreading information and good news from the military. Of course, they agree, there are security concerns. How much information can troops reveal, what if these social media platforms are hacked and government systems compromised? Real concerns, but whether they warrant a complete usage ban is still up in the air.

The Air Force has been pushing for social media, but most of the sites are banned on bases, although it depends on the base and the command.

The Army recently lifted the bans on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and some other social media sites.

The Marine Corps, however, has banned social media entirely.

So, we'll see how this unfolds, and I'll keep an eye on it. Maybe it's something the new cyber arm of the Air Force can find an answer to. The new 24th Air Force was activated this week at Lackland Air Force Base.

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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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