WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 16, 2009) - This week the Army not only launched an official blog portal, but also an Army fan page on Facebook.

The "Army Live" blog (http://armylive.dodlive.mil) officially went live Monday, after a "soft launch" last week, said Lindy Kyzer, the portal's administrator and a Public Affairs specialist in the Online and Social Media Division.

The U.S. Army Facebook page went live about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Both sites were launched by the new Online and Social Media Division of Army Public Affairs. Division Chief Lt. Col. Kevin Arata said he was excited because thousands of people get their information from blogs and social networking sites.

"And I don't think we're targeting just one demographic," Arata said, alluding to the perception that such sites attract primarily a younger audience. "I think there are a lot of older folks out there savvy to this type of communication."

"The blogosphere is a place where a lot of different people are at," Kyzer said. "We know our active-duty Soldiers are there. We know that our family members are there. We know that there's people simply there who choose to get their information from blogs."

Blogs are meant to be an informal and chatty type of communication, Kyzer said.

"Everything we post on 'Army Live,' we really want to get comments and feedback from," Kyzer said. "Blogs thrive on a vibrant comment section and an active dialogue, and that's really what we want."

More than two dozen comments have already been posted to the blog site, Arata said, including one from a Soldier in the Australian Army and the rest from a cross-section of people both inside and outside the U.S. Army.

The Army Facebook site is also looking for comments and discussion. One page asks readers "Why did you join the Army'" A bit lower is a banner for the Year of the NCO and readers are asked "Who is your favorite NCO'"

Meghan McCormick and Kristen Andrews, who are both Army contractors, have been working to design the Army's Facebook site since January.

"It was like waking up on Christmas morning," McCormick said about how exciting it was to get the green light for the launch Thursday.

The Facebook page features Army podcasts. It has dozens of Army photos from Flickr. It has links to Army Web micro-sites, and it has a page of information about the new Army Live blog site.

"The blog is kind of a different channel of communication," Kyzer said. "A blog is really an informal communication mechanism that you don't see replicated in other social media sites. We can post video to YouTube, we can post photos to Flickr, we can post 140 characters to Twitter, which is a micro-blogging site... We have Army.mil which is a 'great place in space,' but that's an official news site..."

"We want 'Army Live' to be a springboard to a lot of our other social networking sites," Kyzer said. She said the 'Army Live' site is also designed to link to other DoD-related blogs.

Currently, a "blog roll" on the right-hand side of the screen links readers to other Army blogs such as the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team "Hammer" blog, the Army Wounded Warrior Program or AW2 blog, the Combined Arms Center Blog Library, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blog site and the Army Surgeon General's Blog.

Arata said he would like for the number of linked blogs to grow exponentially so that "Army Live" is the one-stop virtual shop for all Army blogs. And he invites participation from everyone in the field.