WASHINGTON, D.C. - Given the new pace of electronic communication, Army social media efforts now include Facebook, Twitter, and blogging in order to "utilize all means available to reach the Army family and the American people," said Deputy Chief of Army Public Affairs Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips to military bloggers here, April 24.

The new Online and Social Media Division of Army Public Affairs, formed in January, hosted an afternoon 'meet and greet' event for 21 Milbloggers at the Pentagon prior to their weekend conference in Virginia. During the event, they met with public affairs professionals in each of the five services and senior leadership to include Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.

"We are an organization made up of the young and run by a newspaper generation that came into their adult years before the Internet and social media," Geren said. "The future of our Army depends on how we communicate with our audience in between the ages (of) 15 to 25."

The Milblogging community is comprised of current and former members of the military, military family members, and staunch supporters.

"It's hard to convey how beneficial it was for me to be able to not just meet the public affairs officers that I continually cite, but also to hear the positive things that Secretary Geren had to say about milblogging as a whole. It was obvious from the briefings that the Army is far out in front of all other branches with understanding the new media," said a blogger who contributes to http://www.thisainthell.us.

This conference follows on the heels of the Army's Facebook page launch on April 16.

Geren told the bloggers that senior leaders around the Army are being encouraged to engage bloggers and utilize the Internet within operational constraints. "I see what you do as so important to the future of the Army," Geren told the bloggers. "We're sitting around lamenting the passing of newspaper after newspaper. There's some effort by Congress to find out how to save them. But even the ones surviving are getting skinnier and skinnier-it's recognition that public conversation is moving into your world. If our Army is not fully a part of that conversation-we've not done ourselves justice."

The discussion addressed Army Regulation 530-1 "Operations Security" that restricts but does not prohibit blogging from combat zones. Geren stated that the Army faces challenges that "you don't have in other sectors." However, regarding Army Soldiers he said, "Who better to tell the Army story."

The U.S. Army is blogging at http://armylive.dodlive.mil

Other Army social media sites include: