WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii - To "follow" and to "tweet" is now a good thing in the branch that gave the world leaders like MacArthur, Patton, Schwarzkopf and Powell.

Today's Army is busy following and tweeting on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to reach young Soldiers and potential applicants in their preferred medium - when, where and how they want to receive their information.

Leaders seek to reach 18 to 24-year-olds with vital information. The Millennial Generation gets its "news fixes" from online sources, and commanders want to reach them and their family members - as well as retirees, civilians and their local communities - with pertinent internal and external information that impacts not only morale and welfare, but also operational readiness.

Locally, of the 14 major commands that comprise U.S. Army Hawaii, several are engaged at some level on social networks.

For example, U.S. Army-Pacific reaches out to its cyberspace audience via three blogs, YouTube, TroopTube, MySpace, Flickr and Twitter.

The 25th Infantry Division maintains presence on Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

At the installation level, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii keeps pace with connections on Twiter, Flickr and Vimeo. Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation is active on Twitter and Facebook.

"Facebook is a great tool to connect with Soldiers and family members in a fun and casual way," said Allan Criss, webmaster and marquee designer with FMWR, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

"We get instant responses to many of our posts, which is why we will continue to use Facebook to find out what FMWR programs and events the Army community would like," he said.

Each major command in USARHAW also maintains a Web homepage with substantial links at a "dot mil" site. Through daily updates, webmasters are trying to keep the homepages and links user-friendly and uncluttered.

The USAG-HI Public Affairs Office is in the game, too, through its contracted publisher, the Honolulu Advertiser. PAO is busy preparing for its official launch of HawaiiArmyWeekly.com, a commercial site that provides numerous capabilities, unfettered by military or government restrictions.

Online readers may comment on articles and photos, as well as connect to the garrison commander with their concerns, said Stephanie Rush, USAG-HI PAO digital media specialist.

The HawaiiArmyWeekly.com site is already active online, but the site is still undergoing construction.

"We hope to launch the site soon and hope it will serve our reader's need for an up-to-date and local news source," she continued. "We realize people don't read newspapers how they used to, and the new HawaiiArmyWeekly.com site is accounting for those changes.

"Readers will be able to subscribe to the newspaper by e-mail; with Really Simple Syndication and other syndication feeds; comment on articles; search for content by subject, author or keywords; and interact with the garrison like never before," Rush explained.

Until recently, using popular social media sites had been difficult for some personnel accessing these sites on federal government computers.

Network operational security issues had complicated what could and could not be accessed on government computers.

Still particularly contentious is the threat of introducing malicious software on government computers through worms and Trojan horses, often spread throughout user-to-user networks.

However, the Department of Defense issued a release Feb. 26, which authorizes non-classified networks to "be configured to provide access to Internet-based capabilities across all DoD components."

An accompanying policy memorandum requires commanders to "continue to defend against malicious activity on military information networks, deny access to prohibited content sites ... and take immediate and commensurate actions, as required, to safeguard missions."

Steadily, access to social networks is improving.

From the highest levels of command to individual installations, the Army is continuing to engage today's most popular digital technologies to reach diverse audiences - in the way the user wants - in specific and multiple media.

Most popular sites in Army Hawaii

Aca,!AcBlogging Sites
- Commanding General, U.S. Army-Pacific: http://cg.armypacific.com
- Pacific Warriors: www.pacificwarriors.blogspot.com
- U.S. Army-Pacific: www.armypacific.com

Aca,!AcMicroblogging Sites
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/army_pacific
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/usaghi
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/FMWR_Eddie

Aca,!AcPhoto-Sharing Sites
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/usarpac
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/25th_infantry_division
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/warriorbrigade2-25sbct
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/2-14thcav
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/usag-hi

Aca,!AcSocial Networking Sites
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/usarmy
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/FMWR-Army-Hawaii/40071306850
- MySpace: www.myspace.com/usarpac

Aca,!AcVideo-Sharing Sites
- TroopTube: www.trooptube.tv/category/army
- Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/usarmy
- Vimeo: www.vimeo.com/usaghi
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/soldiersmediacenter
- YouTube: www.youtube.com/usarpacpao

For more official Army ventures in social media, visit www.army.mil/media/socialmedia.