PYEONGTAEK, South Korea (March 15, 2012) -- The U.S. Army recognized Camp Humphreys today with a first place award in the 2011 Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Competition for "Outstanding Initiatives in New Media."

"I couldn't be more proud of the teamwork it took to make this achievement possible," said Col. Joseph P. Moore, USAG-Humphreys commander. "And our team doesn't just include members of the garrison staff -- it's also about our community, because without their involvement the success of our social media program wouldn't be possible."

According to Debra D. Zedalis, IMCOM-Pacific region director, the USAG-Humphreys social media network is made up of some of the most active and heavily visited social media sites in the Army.

"The success of Humphreys' social media program is due in large part to the personal involvement taken by the garrison's commander and staff in communicating directly with community members using tools like Facebook and Twitter," added Zedalis.

Steven Hoover, the garrison's chief of command information and Facebook guru, sees the use of social media as an effective way to rapidly communicate with the Soldiers, families and civilians stationed here.

"I started my Army career as a public affairs Soldier -- in the field, covering stories for the newspaper," said Hoover. "To be honest with you, I wasn't convinced social media could be as effective as traditional media."

"Now that I've been doing this for a few years, I definitely see the value of social media. It's a game changer," added Hoover. "And it's not just about the technology -- while that's important, it's more about the people and helping to facilitate a two-way conversation between our community and those who support it."

The ability to communicate rapidly via social media has proved particularly important for the garrison, as it transforms to become the largest Army installation in Asia.

Home to the 2nd Infantry Division's combat aviation brigade and the Army's most active airfield in the region, the number of Soldiers stationed on Humphreys is expected to grow in the coming years by 238 percent, from 6,670 to 22,497, and the number of families is on track to grow by 1,270 percent.

As part of its transformation, U.S. Forces Korea will relocate from areas in and north of Seoul, to two enduring hubs south of the Han River; the northwest/Pyeongtaek hub, consisting mainly of USAG-Humphreys and Osan Air Base; and the southeast /Daegu hub, comprised mainly of USAG Daegu and Chinhae Naval Base.

Mike Thiem, Installation Management Command's director of public affairs, explains that the ability to effectively communicate via social media is particularly important for military communities transforming as rapidly as Humphreys.

"The key to success during times of change is being able to communicate in a timely and accurate manner. Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook go a long way in helping garrisons rapidly share information with the Soldiers, Families and Civilians they support," said Thiem.

While the social media landscape continues to change with the addition of new tools or the shift in audience preferences, Moore believes social media is here to stay and expects its importance at Humphreys to continue to grow in the coming years.

"This is a great place to live, work and serve," said Moore. "By opening up lines of communication in the online world and actively engaging our community members in meaningful, one-on-one conversations, we can work together to make Humphreys even better."