New Picture A tweet linking to the U.S. Army’s Social Media Handbook snowballed into this post. The handbook joins the U.S. Air Force’s popular Rules of Engagement for Blogging as a mainstream example of the military’s grasp of social media. This made me wonder about the Navy’s, Marines’ and even the Coast Guard’s social media presence.

While Wikileaks might make some assume otherwise, the U.S. military has a forward approach to, and an extensive investment in, social media to help tell its story, connect troops with their families and even to mine military intelligence.

Social Storytelling

The Army’s SlideShare presence may seem out of character — until you examine all of this branch’s social media efforts. The Department of Defense links to more than 1,100 individual Army accounts/pages across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Flickr alone. The Army’s online game has become a popular recruitment tool and it offers a variety of mobile apps and downloads.

Family Ties
Connecting soldiers to their families through social media is an obvious win. And consider that the armed forces have had a social media policy in place since World World II. While social media can’t replace in-person contact, it can certainly help offset the impact of being away from family and friends.

Military Intelligence — The Other Side of Wikileaks
According to The New York Times, the military uses “social networking skills to hunt insurgents.” Threat surveillance and training are both aspects of social media that help inform and prepare the military.

According to Guy Hagen’s Intel 3.0 blog: Just as the USDOD is conscious about having critical information leaked out through the blogs of U.S. military personnel, it sees opportunity for finding clues to future threats and terrorist activities in social media, particularly those relating to particular geographic regions or communities.

With the various social media uses, sites and assets the military claims, it’s no surprise WIRED and Gartner point to the U.S. Defense’s approach as the new standard — eliminating its social media office and making it part of everyone’s role.

Additional Resources
Click here for a curated list of related links.
For a Twitter list of Military, Government and Related Twitter Accounts, click here.

Cross-Posted to my personal blog, Strategic Public Relations.

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