The Pentagon is now using Web 2.0 services such as Facebook and Twitter to help relay the military's message while also tracking down possible recruits online.
"They live in the virtual world," Lt. Gen Benjamin Freakley recently said during an interview with the Associated Press. "You could friend your recruiter, and then he could talk to your friends."
At a time when some Americans don't believe mass media in the United States is portraying the correct message about the mission in Iraq, officials such as Gen Raymond Odierno, top U.S. commander in Iraq, have a Facebook page used to highlight things soldiers are doing in the Middle East.
The U.S. Air Force currently has an official Twitter account -- with more than 3,300 followers -- it uses to share information about activities of the Air Force. An official Facebook Air Force page has also been created, used to help share experiences and information of Airman deployed overseas.
The Marine Corps has dabbled with Web 2.0 experimentation, although it mainly has been for recruiting only. Both the Navy and Coast Guard are experimenting how to work in the Web 2.0 world, with even the Coast Guard commandant updating his Facebook status while he travels.
The Army, along with its online presence, even opened up a gaming center in the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia to help attract new recruits. The Army Experience Center is a 14,500-square-foot location that has PCs, game consoles, and a virtual simulation machine.
As more possible recruits head online into the virtual world, expect each branch of the U.S. military to mimic their moves.
Some companies and organizations have been wary to launch official Web 2.0 services, though allowing select executives and employees to handle work-related business online. It's not uncommon to find both employees and executives from companies such as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and others sharing information online.
quote: Had a discussion with the Info Assurance folks today on the World-wide IO SVTC about their aversion to social networking sites. IPO [Army's Information Proponent Office] has recommended that the IO community get on facebook to coordinate. The IA position is a)we don't see why you need it b)you have AKO (that they admit is not interactive in the way that FaceBook, Linked-In or MySpace is) c)without knowing the value to our organizations, they have determined that the risk outweighs the benefits. I weighed in that those were stupid reasons, but no perceived impact.
quote: ( 1 ) If there were any others present, they were not in uniform and did not make their presence known.