Stewart-Hunter covers social media with information reps
July 16, 2009
<b> HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, GA -- </b> Hunter Army Airfield Public Affairs Officer Steve Hart, accompanied by Stewart-Hunter's Department of the Army PAO intern Elise Van-Pool, discussed the 3rd Infantry Division's social media Web sites during the Chatham County Public Information Officer Association's monthly meeting held at CafAfA SCAD inside the Savannah College of Art and Design's Weston House, July 9.
Hart gave a brief overview of the installation, including its mission and units before discussing in detail how the Army and installation conduct public affairs.
With a military community of more than 100,000, Hart communicated how Stewart, Hunter and Kelley Hill at Fort Benning, collaborate to work together as one Marne Community.
As a part of the premier power projection platform, Hunter works in conjunction with the Port of Savannah and Truscott Air Terminal to deploy and redeploy thousands of Soldiers to and from various theaters of operation.
Scott Larson, public relations manager, St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital in Savannah said public information officers usually have to work together on really urgent matters.
"Learning about each other's organizations gives us a working base to quickly give the community the right information," he said.
"The briefing provided a more in-depth knowledge of the workings of Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart," said Tracy Ammons, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, D.A. Public Affairs intern. "It gave me a sense of how critical the installations are to our Savannah-area economy and our nation."
Ammons, who is looking forward to the opportunity to work directly with Soldiers and their Families, said as a public relations professional, there is a need to keep the community involved with the local military because what happens on the installation has an impact on the surrounding communities.
"I was astonished with the Army's effects-based planning actions," said Sally Silbermann, public relations information manager, Coastal Health District. "I am not surprised Fort Stewart and Hunter is so well respected and appreciated in Coastal Georgia."
To keep such a large population of various generations informed about what is happening at Stewart-Hunter and Kelley Hill, the 3rd ID has engaged the use of social media. Twitter and Facebook are now being utilized to reach out to younger Soldiers and Family Members who are not as likely to read the post newspaper.
VanPool said the move to social media has been extremely positive with many unforeseen benefits.
"Due to the nature of the internet, social media allows us to push information to users' real time," said VanPool. "This has been especially important in emergency situations."
The format allows the 3rd ID to tell the Soldier's story in a way that is more accessible to people not in proximity to Stewart-Hunter.
"Users can communicate directly with us by leaving comments on the Facebook page," VanPool said. "This allows us to respond more quickly to their concerns and requests for information."
At press time, the 3rd ID had 2,526 Facebook fans and 1,107 Twitter followers.
"The Facebook page is great," said Ammons. "Just look at the number of fans on the page and the comments and interaction."
Larson agrees. He said the 3rd ID page on Facebook is on target and that social media is possibly the fastest way to reach people today.
"There are routine updates and many comments from fans," Larson said after checking out the Team Stewart Web site. "Fans feel a strong ownership in and identification with the 3rd ID, Fort Stewart and Hunter."