Army's Social Media Program

Thursday December 16, 2010

What is it?

The U.S. Army's Social Media, as a communications tool, represents an innovative and interactive way of telling the Army story. Social media platforms provide an opportunity for transparent communication and two-way engagement with the public.

On Sept. 16, 2010, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III signed Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 09-026 establishing Internet-based capabilities as an integral part of Department of Defense operations.

Falling under the realm of Internet-based capabilities is social media. Social media are platforms where users engage in two-way conversation, generate content and publish updates using Internet and mobile devices. Specific examples of social media sites are video-sharing services such as YouTube or Vimeo, photo-sharing services such as Flickr, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter's microblogging service.

What has the Army done?

The U.S. Army's Online & Social Media Division (OSMD), formed in January 2009 at the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Headquarters, Department of the Army, spearheads online engagement via social media platforms. In addition to providing information about the latest Army news around the globe, the OSMD uses social media platforms to spark discussions with users and solicit feedback - offering the American public a stake in the future of their Army.

Army leaders are leveraging social media to communicate with stakeholders. Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, as well as Gen. Ray Odierno, commanding general of Joint Forces Command and former commander of U .S. Forces Iraq, use social networking to connect with the military personnel, families and civilians. These examples illustrate the commitment of senior Army leaders to integrate technological advances in communicating with Army stakeholders.

What continued efforts does the Army plan for the future?

The U.S. Army's Social Media program continues to grow and evolve as the social media realm expands and becomes more a part of our daily lives. OSMD envisions the development of initiatives that will provide additional opportunities for public dialogue and feedback. OSMD plans to continue developing and distributing products that keep the Army community up-to-date on social media security precautions, training resources, policies and best practices.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army is using the power of communication through social media platforms to keep the American public informed. This is especially important during a time of crisis. In crisis situations, social media presents an official "one-stop-shop" source of information that is easily-accessible, cost-effective and immediate. The Army can leverage social media platforms during a crisis to reach audiences where they are, convey information and correct misinformation. Given the new pace of electronic information via social media, the Army is poised to continuously adapt to new developments in communication to tell the Army story in a transparent and effective manner.


Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston discusses OPSEC & social media

U.S. Army Social Media Directory

U.S. Army Slideshare with Social Media Resources

Directive Type Memorandum 09-026

Links to official U.S. Army social media platforms:

Army on Twitter
Army on Facebook
Army Live Blog
Army on YouTube
Army on Flickr





NOTE: This series will be discontinued from January 2011: Army Professional Writing

This Week in History: An Army of Firsts







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2010-2013: 60th Anniversary of the Korean War

December 2010

Dec 16: Battle of the Bulge

Dec 18: Gold Star Wives Day

Dec. 24 & 31: No STAND-TO!

January 2011 :

Jan. 8: The U.S. Army All American-Bowl

Jan. 17: Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday ( NO STAND-TO! )


Senior leaders endorsing the use of social media to tell the Army story:

"I think social media is essential right now. I think it's awfully important to use every opportunity to communicate with our (extraordinary) audience. We have an obligation to tell the story of what's happening in the U.S. Army today -- the sacrifice, courage and selfless service of these great young men and women committed to the nation in this time of war."

- Lt. Gen. David Huntoon Jr., West Point's commanding general, superintendent and a graduate as well as a father of a senior cadet, praises the Corps of Cadets for their commitment to the mission of the U.S. Army

Huntoon: 'Inspired to serve' Corps of Cadets

"We trust these men and women to put a gun in their hands, have them deploy overseas, and ask them to make life-and-death decisions for their teammates, the population, and the enemy they face. Why can’t we trust them to do the right thing with social media?”

- Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, U.S. Army Accessions Command


"Social media is not something you do, it is something you cultivate and nurture. It requires the right mix of content, interaction and personality. Being creative and open while maintaining credibility and authoritativeness can be a challenge, but it can be done, and done with great results. We are now moving from a typical 24-hour news response time to about three hours or less. In fact, with a smart phone and wireless connection, we even have the ability to broadcast live to our Command Channel and websites, including Facebook, while accepting live comments from the community. It’s like having a satellite truck in my pocket. Best of all, most of this is free or very low cost."

- Dan Thompson, public affairs chief, U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan, encourages using the social media tools to tell the Army story

Pentagon Channel puts Yongsan social media in spotlight

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