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2010 Army Social Media Book


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This is the October 2010 version of the Army Social Media Book. Please feel free to download and share.

This is the October 2010 version of the Army Social Media Book. Please feel free to download and share.

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  • 1. Introduction 1 Contents Communication Revolution ................................................................................... 3 What Is Army Social Media? .................................................................................. 5 Who Does It Impact? ............................................................................................... 6 Start The Conversation ........................................................................................... 7 Powerful Communication Tools ............................................................................ 9 Why Join Army Social Media? ............................................................................... 9 Powerful Numbers ................................................................................................ 10 A Detailed Look ..................................................................................................... 11 The Army Homepage ............................................................................................ 12 The Army Live Blog ............................................................................................... 14 The Army on Facebook ......................................................................................... 16 The Army on Twitter ............................................................................................. 18 The Army on Flickr ................................................................................................ 20 The Army on YouTube .......................................................................................... 22 Communicate Confidently ................................................................................... 24 Our Mission To keep the American people and the Army informed through meaningful conversations and content placement. DID YOU KNOW? The Department of Defense has authorized the safe and effective use of Internet-based capabilities which include social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
  • 2. Aneweraofinformation 3 2 Communication Revolution People no longer search for news, the news finds them. And in the world of social media the perception of truth can be just as powerful as the truth itself. The Internet moves information very quickly, whether for good or bad. If you don’t own the space, someone else will own it for you. Social media, with a variety of available platforms, can instantaneously connect users within a global network, making the transfer of information even more pervasive. The only way to truly ensure the correct message is being shared is through the timely release of accurate information. In the past the decision to participate in social media was optional. Today social media is so widespread and transparent that you may already be involved even if you are not actively participating. The Army has chosen to take a proactive approach to social media rather than a reactive one. DID YOU KNOW? U.S. forces in Vietnam could enter and leave a village before anyone outside the area was aware of their presence. Today, it is possible that video of the coalition forces activities can be uploaded and shared online prior to the patrol returning to base. MAJ Juanita Chang, Director of Online and Social Media, U.S. Army
  • 3. AnArmySocialMediaOverview What is Army Social Media? The Army recognizes that social media has the ability to communicate with larger audiences faster and in new ways. It has become an important tool for Army messaging and outreach. The Army Social Media platforms discussed in this book include social networking sites, media sharing sites, blogs, and microblogs. Collectively these sites handle a variety of media from text to audio, pictures, and video; all of which is generated and maintained by organizations and individuals within the Army Family. This book will acquaint you, in greater detail, with Army Social Media and provide suggestions on how you can become part of it. 5 4 DID YOU KNOW? It took television 13 years to finally reach 50 million people? It took Facebook only 2 years. Erik Qualman at Harvard Square Theater
  • 4. AnArmySocialMediaOverview Who Does It Impact? The simple answer is “You.” As a member of the Army Family, Army Social Media impacts you. It affects you as part of a garrison where it is being used to increase effective communication, both within the installation and to communities affected by its routines and decisions. It affects you as a member of an operational theater. Social media provides immediate and transparent ways for you to communicate messages and updates among yourselves and with family and friends. It affects you as a Family member, whether you are in uniform or supporting a Soldier. Family Readiness Groups are creating immediate connections through social media that would have been impossible to establish through tradition methods. 7 6 DID YOU KNOW? Over 75% of all active internet users regularly read blogs. Technorati Start the Conversation The power of Army Social Media is best described with the ripple effect. One person tells a handful of others about a story or idea, and subsequently those people tell a handful more. Soon that story reaches hundreds of others in a matter of days, hours or even minutes. Social media is blind to demographics, boundlessly crossing the spectrum to all who are willing to listen, observe and share. Its combined power comes from the collective effort of all those involved and will continue to grow so long as the topic remains relevant. The graphic to the left displays five specific social media platforms highlighted in this book. It is a sampling of how a message exponentially grows within the network of Army Social Media including emerging media. Most social media services and blogs have overlapping features that allow connections between them thus adding more fuel to the power of one person’s message. A tweet about an event made by one individual on Twitter can easily end up on multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Flickr. This, along with related photos and videos help expand the ripple effect. Army Blogs Flickr Facebook YouTube Twitter
  • 5. AnArmySocialMediaOverview Powerful Communication Tools Soldiers have always been the Army’s best and most effective messengers. Today, Army Social Media enables the Army Family around town, around the country and around the world to stay connected and spread the Army’s key themes and messages. Every time a member of the Army Family joins Army Social Media, it increases the timely and transparent dissemination of information. It ensures that the Army story is shared honestly and directly to Americans wherever they are and whenever they want to see, read or hear it. 9 8 Why Join Army Social Media? • It allows you to be a part of the Army story • It saves money • It provides a platform and helps manage messages • It is timely • It is conveys information with transparency • It reaches audiences where they currently are • It helps suppress rumors • It moves with the pulse of troops • It is measurable Tips on what works for us • Choose the right message • Develop a communication strategy • Schedule a timely release of information • Keep it concise • Synchronize efforts on all platforms • Post photos or videos of the day • Develop a mixed dose of ‘medicine’ and fun • Keep the conversation moving DID YOU KNOW? Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old. 96% of people born after 1982 have joined a social network. U.S. Census Bureau / Tim Gibson - Web Content Editor at Oxford Brookes University
  • 6. TheGeneralFeatures A Detailed Look The rest of this book provides more detail on various social media platforms. As an introduction to Army Social Media, we have only highlighted the top five that the Army has a strong presence on – Army Live (the official Army blog), Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Other platforms that the Army is actively contributing to, include Vimeo ( – a video hosting site similar to YouTube), and SlideShare ( – a presentation and document sharing site). Social media continues to grow daily and evolve as new technologies become available. The Army is committed to exploring all new emerging media platforms as a method of communication. Key Features The legend below provides a list of key features that the highlighted platforms offer, along with definitions of each of those features. This legend is used as a visual reference throughout the book, with available features appearing in dark gray and those not offered appearing in light grey. 11 10 Powerful Numbers When it comes to the question of “Why join Army Social Media?,” statistics make a more convincing case than any other argument out there. The numbers prove that social media has changed the face of communication and many are saying it is the biggest advancement in history since the industrial Revolution. There is no question that it has revolutionized the way we communicate by provided a means for everyone’s message to be heard, shared and discussed. You no longer need to have a large television studio or radio station to communicate with commanding presence. Today, it is just a matter of choosing the service that best suits your needs and crafting the right message. There are many social media platforms out there but we recommend starting with the ones that the Army is currently using. You can find them by going to or continue to read on for a more in-depth description of each. If you are not ready to make the plunge as a messenger, you can still ensure your voice is heard by commenting on Army blogs such as or on other official Army Social Media sites. This type of commentary is what feeds the system and ultimately gives us a better under- standing of your perceptions. It is vital information that is heard on multiple levels. 23,719Interactions This Week [?] 19,589Likes 3,811Comments Profile Information Displays basic specified information about the registered author, user or company / organization. Comments / Chat Allows users to comment on content or send instant messages to other users (depending on offerings of the specific service). Notification / Message Allows a user to send notification messages (service specific e-mails) to other users. Photo Support Supports upload or feed of photo content. Video Support Supports upload or feed of video content. Podcast Support Supports upload or feed of podcast audio and video content. Delivers Feeds Supports podcast audio content. Accepts Feeds Supports content fed from other external sources and social media platforms. Mobile Device Compatible Allows a user to read and contribute to this service via a mobile device. Keyword Tagging Allows a user to add keyword tags to text, photo or video content. Geotagging Allows a user to automatically add location tags to content. Highlighted Platforms Other Resources new emerging media platforms
  • 7. Army Live Blog TheArmyHomepage Army On Facebook Army On Flickr Army On YouTube Army On Twitter 13 Your Army Social Media experience starts here. Connect easily to popular social media platforms by clicking on one of the these icons. You will be taken to the official Army pages for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. ( official Army website pictured below ) ( a list of all Army Social Media Web pages ) is a site designed with the Army community in mind. Here you can search news, media and the Army blog to immerse yourself in what the Army is currently doing. You can also access Army Live through the blog tab. The homepage delivers daily news about Soldiers, the Army Family and the Army community. Navigate the site to find what is important to you, but don’t forget to join the Army Social Media network to connect to the U.S. Army. 12
  • 8. DID YOU KNOW? Over 60% of bloggers say they are most influenced by other bloggers. Technorati Why Should I Blog? Did you ever write a letter-to-the-editor of a newspaper that didn’t get published? What you had to say was noteworthy, but it didn’t make it to print. Blogs publish. They have the space and, more importantly, the interest to publish your post. Soldiers and other members of the Army Family have always told the Army story best. We encourage individual members, units, companies and commands to create blogs to share news, information and stories of their Army lives. Be a blogger. Get published. Army Blog Is On The Go If you are simply looking to post a comment on the go and your mobile device has Internet access, then you should be able to do just that. If you have your own blog and want to publish an article from the road, most blog platforms like Wordpress and Blogger allow you to e-mail or text your post directly from your phone or mobile device. To learn more on mobile blogging go to: or Army Live Blog Overview You can find a blog on just about any topic you can think of. These days Army-related blogs are no different and provide a wealth of information submitted by both the author and those commenting on posted articles. Most Army blogs center around a specific topic, because they are generally written by those people who have particular knowledge of that topic. On the other hand, the Army’s official blog “Army Live” provides a more diverse offering of information, simply because it is pulling information from a larger group of sources. If you are hesitant to make the leap into one of the social media platforms mentioned in the preceding pages, then blogs may be a good place for you to start. You can comment on most blogs with very little up-front commitment. You may be asked to submit your e-mail address to ensure personal authenticity, but this information is kept private by the blog administrator. Blogs give you the opportunity to interact and share your opinions on topics you find interesting, as well as learn about things you didn’t know existed. This collaborative interaction and growth of knowledge is at the core of Army Social Media – where you take it is entirely up to you. If you’re passionate about sharing your own ideas with the Army community, you may want to consider starting your own blog. Wordpress. com and are two free blog platforms that allow you to easily set up your own blog site in a matter of minutes. If you would like to blog officially within or for your organization, you must host your blog from a .mil address. TheArmyonBlogs 15 Although the location might change from blog to blog, this region contains the most recent posts. Each blog post is dated and generally contains the name of the author, date of the post and some descriptive tags and category classifications. It also may contain the number of comments that have been posted by other visitors. The RSS feed button allows you to subscribe to automatically receive updates when new content is posted. The search window is critical when looking for a specific topic or article. Recent posts allows you to view the most current articles in the blog. The blog roll provides quick access to top external links promoted by the blog. ( official Army blog ) 14
  • 9. Why Join the Army on Facebook? “Why shouldn’t you?” may be the better question. As a member of the Army Family, this is a special time in your life. No matter where you are in your tour or how long it will last, you have a lot to share with friends, family and others. And they have a lot they want to share with you. It’s an opportunity to instantly reach out to those you want to connect with regardless of time, space or distance. Tapping into the potential of Facebook is like discovering television or radio for the first time. And it’s free. Every deal should be this good. Facebook Is On The Go Imagine this, you are away from your computer and you hear about an Army initiative worth sharing. If you have a mobile device, you don’t have to wait to share it. There are a variety of tools that allow you to connect with others in the Army community quickly and securely via Facebook and a personal mobile device. To get started go to: On your mobile device login to your account by going to: Army Facebook Overview Facebook currently is the largest social networking service on the Internet with millions of members. Its purpose is simple: Let people with common interests share their stories, thoughts, observations and ideas. That is why it is a key component of Army Social Media. Whether you’re an individual looking to simply connect with others or you belong to a group of people poised to grow your community’s awareness, Facebook provides the tools you need to do just that. Its features are robust, including a central hub of communication, called the “wall,” for posting comments that others can see; instant message or “chat” for having one-on-one conversations with other members; and media capability for uploading pictures and videos that help you illustrate your story. Your profile can be as secure or as open as you want it to be. You can selectively choose who you want to have view your profile page or you can allow access to anyone who chooses to stop by. Those you allow are called “friends” and they can view and comment on anything in your profile, thus beginning the sharing process of social media. If you are a current Facebook member and would like to receive updates from the Army’s Facebook page, opt in by clicking “Like.” You immediately become part of the Army community and information is fed into your Facebook page automatically. TheArmyonFacebook 17 DID YOU KNOW? Facebook has more than 500 million active users worldwide. If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest by poulation. Wikipedia / Facebook Enter username and password here to login to your account. The HOOAH! tab, unique to the Army Facebook page, engages users to participate in all Army Social Media platforms. The Other Pages tab lists all of the official Facebook pages affiliated with the U.S. Army. Profile information about this Facebook user. The information viewable to the public is defined by the user. This is a list of all the people that currently are following this account. Click here to create a Facebook account if you do not already have one. ( official Army Facebook Web page ) 16
  • 10. Why Join the Army on Twitter? In its simplest form, when people use Twitter they say, “This is what I’m doing, or thinking, right now. Any thoughts about that?” In your unique position as a member of the Army Family, you have people in your life who are particularly interested in your activities and want to know what’s on your mind on a regular basis. But time is always precious and there is little of it for correspondence. Twitter is a great way for you to share information in short thoughts, include a link and see what others think is important enough to share. Twitter Is On The Go Twitter is all about instant communication, so naturally it can be accessed from most mobile phones and other mobile devices. In short, you don’t have to wait to share it. There are a variety of tools that allow you to connect with others in the Army community quickly and securely via Twitter and your personal mobile device. To get started go to: On your mobile device login to your account by going to: Army Twitter Overview If you have ever wanted to share an idea or story with others in the Army community, but didn’t have time to write a blog post or craft an e-mail, then Twitter is the venue for you. It is a social media platform geared toward short communications or “tweets” of 140 characters or less. Twitter conversations are generally short, concise thoughts, but can be more than just an exchange of words. It allows you, your followers and those you follow access to information and knowledge you might otherwise have missed. If you use special keyword tags called hashtags (# symbol preceding a word) to highlight topics, those communications are searchable across the entire network regardless of who sent the tweet or who is following them. It even allows you to attach a photograph to help illustrate your message. Twitter connects with other social media platforms, like Facebook, and can be fed into existing websites or blogs, allowing others to see those thoughts even if they are not Twitter members themselves. From Army initiatives and Soldiers using green technology to local news about your unit or family, Twitter instantly links thousands of people in Army Social Media circles across town, across the country and across the world. TheArmyonTwitter 19 DID YOU KNOW? ... more than one-fifth of the world’s population are online – That’s more than 1.2 billion people. The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the total population of the planet! Social Media Sandy Sign into an existing account or click here to set up your own user account and join the Twitter community. Account profile where information about the Twitter user and external links are displayed. Information about the number of followers / following. Current number of tweets this user has submitted. Links to the people, companies or organizations that a user is following. When you click on any of the links in this region, it takes you to that user’s page, where you can view recent tweets and decide to follow them. Then you are able to comment on any tweet that user makes. The most recent tweet is displayed here. Past tweets submitted by this user are displayed here with a time and date stamp, along with information on what application was used to send the tweet. ( official Army Twitter Web page ) 18
  • 11. Why Join the Army on Flickr? Because a picture really is worth a thousand words. Whether you are a Soldier or a member of the Army community, pictures capture what Army life is like for you. And Flickr is your digital scrapbook to help you organize those moments so you can share them with your friends and family both at home and abroad. Photos uploaded to the Army’s Flickr account are not restricted by copyright regulations so they may be shared by you as well as news or other media outlets. Flickr Is On The Go Most mobile devices feature some sort of camera and others even have video capability built in. If you have a mobile device, you don’t have to wait to share what you’ve captured. There are a variety of tools that allow you to share media with others in the Army community quickly and securely via Flickr and your personal mobile device. To get started go to: On your mobile device login to your account by going to: Army Flickr Overview Media sharing platforms have been around the Internet for many years, but Flickr revolutionized this concept by creating online media communities. The basic idea is that you sign into your account, upload your digital photos or videos via the Web interface, and then share them with your family, your friends, your community or the world. It sounds easy because it is easy. And what you can do with your photos does not stop there. Once your digital media is uploaded, you can add titles and descriptive keywords known as “tags,” which instantly categorize and sort your media. Like Facebook, you choose how private or public you want your account to be in the security settings. If you select the public setting, your photos are added to the public database, allowing others to view and comment on them. Yet another feature called “groups” allows you to add your media to a group centered around people with a common interest. Those who subscribe to a group can view and discuss any new media as it is added. The Army currently uses Flickr to share hundreds of photos daily with the Army community. The Flickr page (pictured left) is called “Soldiers Media Center” and is a great place to start your Flickr experience, comment on photos or simply learn how it works. TheArmyonFlickr 21 DID YOU KNOW? Flickr has more than 3 billion photos uploaded to their servers. Mashable Enter your username and password here to login to your account. Click on any image to see an enlarged view (if available). Information about the photo, such as a tagline, credits, etc. Date and number of user comments this photo has. Search this photostream. Click the Join Flickr button to set up an account if you don’t already have one. Click any of the links here to sort collections of photos by sets, keyword tags or view the user’s archives, favorites and profile. ( official Army Flickr Web page ) 20
  • 12. Army YouTube Overview Video is considered to be one of the most powerful means of communication, so it is no surprise that YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms on the Internet. YouTube serves up more than 100 million videos daily and about ten hours of video footage is uploaded every minute. If you have video content that you want circulated, YouTube is the place to put it. All you have to do is upload your videos and add your keyword tags and the platform does the rest, compressing your new video down to the ideal playback rate in both standard and high definition (if applicable). Your uploaded content is searchable and available for anyone to view as long as you grant public access in your settings. Additionally, you can save your favorite videos within your profile for easy access and sharing with others. Just like Flickr, it allows you to comment on content, as well as rate videos and subscribe to the channels that you find most compelling. But the real power of YouTube comes in its ability to be fed and embedded into just about any type of website or social media site on the Web, including Facebook. The Army currently runs their own channel on YouTube (pictured left) called “Soldiers Media Center.” There you can find Army videos containing current Army news and Soldier generated content. TheArmyonYouTube Why Join the Army on YouTube? On the practical side, YouTube provides a unique opportunity to archive “moving pictures” of a special time in your life. It is an unlimited storage facility for video that may otherwise never be seen. Once stored / saved there, they can be viewed over and over. Posting your video, allows you and other members of the Army Family to share the images and the stories that they tell. We have control over what is shown about our Army life. You capture the moment. You are the movie-maker. You are the teller of tale. And the Army community wants to see them and share them. YouTube Is On The Go Most mobile devices feature some sort of camera and others even have video capability. If you have a mobile device, you don’t have to wait to share what you’ve captured. There are a variety of tools that allow you to share media with others in the Army community quickly and securely via YouTube and your personal mobile device. To get started go to: On your mobile device login to your account by going to: 23 DID YOU KNOW? If it were a standalone site, YouTube would be the second largest search engine in the world after Google. TechCrunch Videos featured in the sidebar are the most current or relevant. When you click on one of the links here, it will play the video selected in the viewer to the left. You have several sort options for searching videos, but can use the search window at any time to locate a specific video. Enter username and password here to login to your account. You can subscribe to the RSS feed for this YouTube channel to be updated every time a new video is uploaded. The player in YouTube shows you a progress bar of the loaded content as well as content played. It also shows you the duration of the video and gives you options to view the video at high definition (if available) and at full screen view. The search window is critical when looking for a specific video or topic. ( official Army YouTube Web page ) 22
  • 13. Communicate Confidently Communication is at the core of every successful U.S. Army operation – past and present. Today the Army is using the power of communication in a new way – through social media. Tools, such as the Army Live blog, Facebook, Twitter and many others, already exist and have proven successful in getting the word out. The Army Social Media initiative continues to grow and evolve as the social media industry expands. Using as our hub, thousands of people already have joined the effort and we expect thousands more to join in the future. By establishing a dialogue with our audience, we remain a conduit of information, thereby increasing our capability at a pace relevant to public interest. We continue to look ahead to the next social media development to remain relevant and current. We encourage you to join us in exploring the potential of Army Social Media and hope this book offers you clear guidance and insight on the resources available to begin your own discussions. Security Items to Consider • Take a close look at your privacy settings. Set your security options to allow visibility to friends only. • Don’t reveal sensitive information about yourself, such as your contacts, schedules and event locations. Once it’s out there you can’t get it back. • Ask yourself, “What could the wrong person do with this information?” and “Could it compromise the safety of myself or my family?” • Verify through other channels that a “friend” request was actually someone you know personally. • Geotagging is a feature that reveals your location to other people within your network. Consider turning off any geotagging functionality. It may supply information which could be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. • Closely review photos before you post them online. Make sure they don’t give away sensitive information like future operations or future family plans. • Make sure family and friends are careful when they post photos of you. Talk to them about military restrictions and Operational Security (OPSEC). • Ensure photographs do not violate General Order #1, which restricts photography taken on deployment. • Videos can go viral very quickly, make sure the information you record is suitable to be viewed by a large audience. It should represent the Army well and adhere to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). • Beware of “apps” or plugins, which are often written by unknown third parties sofware developers who might use them to access your sensitive data.
  • 14. Office of the Chief of Public Affairs Room 1E460 Pentagon, Washington, DC