YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea -- The ability to reach audiences and create two-way communication between Yongsan Garrison and the community was the focus of a TV news story aired worldwide on the Pentagon ChannelAca,!a,,cs The Army Today news show over the weekend.

American Forces Network (AFN) Korea originally produced the story about social media and how area units are using it to their advantage, especially during a string of emergencies in Korea, said AFN reporter Spc. Jamie Mannion.

"Before social media, the only way I could reach our community audience was with the newspaper or website,Aca,!A? said Yongsan Public Affairs Specialist Cpl. Choe Yong-joon during an interview with AFN-Korea. Aca,!A"Now I am reaching them through Facebook and getting to know my audience a lot better.Aca,!A?

With nearly 5,800 members Yongsan's main social media site, www.facebook.com/youryongsan, has drawn the attention of leaders looking at adding its broad reach to their media tool kits. During Typhoon Kompasu and the 100-year flood in September, Garrison Yongsan used social media like Facebook to augment other media in near real time.

Aca,!A"While traditional media like radio will always be an essential emergency information tool, social media gives us yet another method to reach audiences who need accurate information, and need it fast,Aca,!A? said U.S. Army Garrison Commander Col. Bill Huber. Aca,!A"Using a full spectrum of media outlets and notification systems, we can keep people informed as if they were in the emergency response center themselves.Aca,!A?

That is what Yongsan Public Affairs Specialist Pfc. Hong Moo-sun said he likes most about social media: helping people.

Aca,!A"I like having social media because I get instant feedback from my readers,Aca,!A? he said during his on-camera interview. Aca,!A"They let me know what they like and dislike, which really helps me become a better writer and help them more. I also post information about movies and cultural events, which helps them during their time in Korea.Aca,!A?

Yongsan Public Affairs Deputy Chief Jane Lee said part of Yongsan's social media success is due to teamwork and maintaining a commitment to public service.

Aca,!A"In the Yongsan Public Affairs Office, everyone from the most junior Soldier to the top director makes a direct contribution to the Facebook page each week, be it cultural tips, creating videos, answering questions, or posting community event information,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"Our staff draw a lot of inspiration from the feedback they receive, especially when they know people value their service. That feedback simply was not as possible before social media.Aca,!A?

According to Hong, a chemical engineering student currently serving as a Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army Soldier, he knows his service is appreciated.

Aca,!A"I am really happy when people like my story and offer advice,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"It lets me know that my work here really matters.Aca,!A?

Yongsan Public Affairs Chief Dan Thompson said more and more units and major commands are noticing the Yongsan Facebook page and asking how they can replicate YongsanAca,!a,,cs success.

Aca,!A"Since winning the Keith L. Ware 1st place award for innovation in Social Media at the Installation Management Command level, we have received inquiries from Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command and others about how to increase the effectiveness of social media,Aca,!A? Thompson said. Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve been developing a set of standing operating procedures so that others may emulate what we are doing."

"Social media is not something you do, it is something you cultivate and nurture," Thompson continued. "It requires the right mix of content, interaction and personality. Being creative and open while maintaining credibility and authoritativeness can be a challenge, but it can be done, and done with great results.Aca,!A?

He also said that live reporting is becoming more of a norm at Yongsan as they leverage new technology and applications such as Livestream.

Aca,!A"We are now moving from a typical 24-hour news response time to about three hours or less,Aca,!A? he said. Aca,!A"In fact, with a smart phone and wireless connection, we even have the ability to broadcast live to our Command Channel and websites, including Facebook, while accepting live comments from the community. ItAca,!a,,cs like having a satellite truck in my pocket. Best of all, most of this is free or very low cost.Aca,!A?

According to Thompson, the IMCOM Journal plans on running a story about how to replicate YongsanAca,!a,,cs social media approach to emergency notification in the coming months, especially as interest in the recent North Korean attack and YongsanAca,!a,,cs social media response attract more attention from policy makers.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16