By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderNovember 7, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson is conducting its first Facebook town hall meeting Wednesday for Soldiers, family members, retirees, veterans and anyone else with questions about the installation.
The event begins at 6 p.m. on the Facebook page for Fort Jackson's U.S. Army Garrison, and is expected to last for three hours. The online session is designed to give Soldiers, family members and post employees the opportunity to engage with installation leadership in a manner that won't require them to step away from work, home or other responsibilities.
"We are excited about the possibilities of the upcoming Facebook town hall meeting for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is we believe it will expand our reach," said Col. Michael Graese, Fort Jackson garrison commander. "Previous town hall meetings have been sparsely attended, and we are optimistic this approach will allow more people to participate. They do not have to leave the comfort of their home and do not have to make a special trip."
Fort Jackson's various directorates will be moderating individual threads on the page that night, said Lewis Kellam, supervisor operations officer with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
"Each of the directorates will establish a thread themselves, so they can monitor the questions," Kellam said. You can find that post and ask your question."
Participants will have to log in to their Facebook account and "like" the page in order to ask questions. There's no theme for Fort Jackson's first Facebook town hall meeting. Topics for discussion will be set by participants.
"This is the first one we've done, so I think there will be quite a few questions," Kellam said. "But, a lot of people will be able to pop in and see what is being discussed."
Representatives from directorates as varied as Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Army Community Services; Housing; the Religious Service Office; Installation Legal Office; Directorate of Emergency Services; AAFES; and the Commissary will be online taking and answering questions during the Facebook town hall.
Participants should post their questions in the relevant thread, which will be clearly labeled, he said. In some cases, directorates might need to conduct research in order to answer individual questions, but he's anticipating most will be answered during the Wednesday Facebook session.
"If we can't answer, we'll get them an answer back no later than Nov. 19," Kellam said.
Participation in this month's event will also inform how Fort Jackson will conduct virtual town hall meetings in the future.
"As with everything we do at Fort Jackson, we will adjust as necessary to get the most effective feedback and adjust ourselves accordingly," Graese said.
"Were trying to move to social media," Kellam said. "Everybody's using it now. Having town hall meetings online allows family members to stay home and get their questions answered. They don't have to find someone to babysit."