Town hall to take new approach with social media integration
January 23, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Jan. 23, 2012) -- III Corps and Fort Hood leaders are taking a groundbreaking approach to a community town hall event set for Jan. 26. The Fort Hood Facebook and TV Town Hall, which will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT) on Jan. 26, will combine social media, over-the-air television broadcasts and Internet radio for the first time in an attempt to engage as many community members as possible during the event.
"This effort is unprecedented,"said Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general. "It's important for our military community to hear from its leaders, but it's equally important that we hear from them."
The general will be joined by dozens of subject matter experts, representing every major organization on the installation, throughout the two-hour event.
The first hour of the town hall will be hosted on Facebook alone. This is the first time social media will be used to conduct a town hall event at the installation.
"The Fort Hood Facebook site has more than 13,000 followers," explained Christie Vanover, chief of command information for Fort Hood and III Corps. "It's a powerful tool for the command to get out its messages, and during the town hall, a powerful medium to engage our military community."
As Facebook questions continue to be taken and answered, during the second hour of the event, the Phantom Warrior Studio in the III Corps Headquarters will go live, offering yet another opportunity for the community to speak with Campbell and other installation leaders. A third medium, FortHoodRadio.com, will simulcast the audio portion of the televised town hall.
"This is a huge undertaking," Vanover said. "We've augmented the III Corps and Fort Hood public affairs effort with Soldiers from the 4th and 14th Public Affairs Detachments to make this all work."
Vanover said she expects to receive hundreds of Facebook questions and comments, and dozens of calls during the two-hour event. However, not every question will be heard on the air during the hour-long broadcast.
"It's simply not possible to get every caller or Facebook question through to the general during an hour-long event," Vanover said, "but those callers whose questions are not answered on the air will receive answers either by phone, or via email if they provide it to us, and all Facebook questions will be answered, as quickly as possible, on Facebook."
Fort Hood hasn't conducted a televised town hall since prior to III Corps' deployment to Iraq in February 2010. The III Corps Commanding General then-Lt. Gen. Bob Cone focused on the support available to the Fort Hood community less than four months after the installation was traumatized by the deaths of 13 of its members and the wounding of dozens more in November 2009.
Support of Soldiers, their families and the military community as a whole is the focus of this town hall event as well, Campbell said.
"What I want to accomplish through this town hall is to provide a direct and transparent line between me and the Fort Hood community," Campbell said. "If there are issues and concerns that we need to look at, I want to know about them. At the same time, we hope that this forum will allow us the opportunity to educate our audience on some of the services, programs and policies that are already in place, which are designed to improve the quality of life for our Soldiers, family members and civilian employees."
He said he encourages community members to make wide use of this open forum opportunity.
"We truly want to make the 'Great Place' greater," Campbell added. "We want to hear from as many people as possible, so we can make sure that we are working toward that goal."
Questions during the event will be answered online or during the broadcast.
Community members will be able to post their questions to Facebook at www.facebook.com/forthood from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT), Jan. 26. When telephone lines open for the broadcast portion of the event, the phone number will be posted on the Fort Hood Facebook site, at FortHoodRadio.com and provided on TV throughout the broadcast.