Fort Benning launches Facebook, Twitter, Flickr pages
July 30, 2009
FORT BENNING, GA - Thanks to Fort Benning's new social media Web pages, friends, families and co-workers can stay connected to Fort Benning from anywhere in the world with the click of a mouse.
With the June launch of its Facebook, Twitter and Flickr pages, and a blog set to launch Aug. 17, Fort Benning joined an Armywide trend toward the use of social media. The U.S. Army, along with many individual units and installations, maintains Web pages on sites including Facebook, Twitter, Delicious and YouTube.
With features including news updates, photo sharing and message boards, Fort Benning's social media Web pages were created to help family members and Soldiers stay in touch and get information about the installation, said Michelle Gordon, community relations specialist and social networking lead.
Fort Benning has two Facebook pages, a friend page and a fan page. Registered Facebook users can add Fort Benning as a friend, allowing them to view news updates and leave public messages. Users can also become a fan of Fort Benning to view its fan page, which has the same information as the friend page, as well as message boards where fans can talk to each other.
The Facebook fan page message boards have been especially helpful to families of basic trainees, Gordon said.
"I would like to connect with other parents or loved ones who have someone in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 54th Infantry Regiment," wrote a mother of a basic trainee. "My son started boot camp July 10. We miss him and are very proud of him."
"My brother is in F Company," replied the sister of a basic trainee. "We miss him so much and it's been really hard on my mom. I would love to stay connected with you."
Gordon said administrators aim to get 1,000 fans of Fort Benning on Facebook, which will allow the fan page to have a simplified Web address of www.facebook.com/fortbenning, rather than the lengthy combination of numbers and letters in its current address.
Flickr, a photo sharing Web site, allows users to post and view photographs and images. Though Fort Benning's Flickr site is still in its beginning stages, Gordon said she and other administrators aim to eventually post all photos from The Bayonet in searchable folders.
On Twitter, a type of microblog, users can post messages up to 140 characters long and receive new posts by e-mail. Gordon said she updates Fort Benning's Twitter site every day and frequently posts links to articles in The Bayonet.
"Twitter is kind of like a status update on Facebook, because it allows people to know what you're doing at that moment," she said. "We can update Twitter from an event, and you don't have to wait for anything to be printed."
Twitter also keeps Fort Benning leadership connected. COL Bryan Owens, Fort Benning deputy commander and U.S. Army Infantry Center assistant commandant, created a Twitter page for the U.S. Army Infantry School in order to connect Fort Benning with brigade and battalion commanders in the field.
"What I found as a brigade commander is that you don't have time to surf Web sites, but you do have time to (view) your Twitter site," Owens said. "Most commanders in the field have a BlackBerry. Twitter allows daily visibility with brigade commanders, who can see Fort Benning is interested in what they have to say. If they're following the Infantry School, they're going to see updates and questions like 'Do you like this piece of equipment' Is there anything we can do better'' It's more than just providing information, it's getting feedback and having a dialogue."
Owens said he created the Infantry School Twitter site less than two weeks ago, but with 18 of the approximately 100 Army brigade commanders already following it, he said he is confident it will be a success.
To view Fort Benning's social media pages, visit Fort Benning's home page at http://www.army.mil/info/organization/benning/ and follow the links at the bottom of the page. To view the blog, which will launch Aug. 17, go to http://benning.armylive.dodlive.mil.