As part of our initiative to help guide Airmen into being communicators, “New Media and the Airforce” is now available for download. The pamphlet, created by the Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Emerging Technology Division, should be used as an instructional guide and is primarily intended for Air Force Public Affairs people. It is not to be construed as official guidance, endorsement of products or the sites listed, nor is it policy. All Airmen and the public are free to download and consult the book to learn more about social media and how it is being used as a new communication tool. The accompanying video is also available for viewing on Air Force BlueTube. This video shows how Airmen are currently using social media to tell their story.
We will update the guide frequently and are interested in crowdsourcing it in order to hear from society what works and what doesn’t. We know it’s not perfect (we just found several typos from comments on the blog–thank you), but we’re working on it. In the meantime, feel free to tell and share your story in your voice. We’re getting there and this guide was one way to get Public Affairs folks talking and listening to the digital world.
UPDATE: Requests for more information have been made. We’d like to offer these documents as well. The 2006 Secretary of the Air Force’s Letter that all Airmen are communicators. Link.
The letter states: “The success of this effort will rely on making every Airman an ambassador for our Air Force, at home and abroad. Your stories resonate the most with local newspapers, schools, and rotary clubs. The American public looks up to you as a model of integrity, and by sharing your experiences you are the best spokesmen for our Air Force.”
Further guidance from Headquarters Air Force in the form of Roll Call states:
“You are not prohibited from using blogs or social network sites, but you must consider the following before posting information to the public Web:
Classified information – this includes information that is not available to the public and would not be released under the Freedom of Information Act. Releasing classified information to the public—intentionally or otherwise—could result in UCMJ action, or worse, the compromise of national security.
Operational Security (OPSEC) – while certain pieces of information may not be classified, when put together, there can be detrimental results. Writing about current or future operations, locations of personnel or equipment, or arrival and departure information are all sensitive details that, if pieced together, could endanger the Air Force mission and the lives of our friends and Allies.
Illegal acts or incidents under investigation – a blog can be considered as evidence of guilt or personal knowledge of a crime. Illegal acts discussed in blogs could be used as evidence for UCMJ action.
Use of government computer systems – personal blogging on a government computer system is strictly prohibited. Government servers are reserved for the conduct of official business, and violations are punishable under the UCMJ. Moreover, personal blogging on a government computer places the government’s ability to protect national security at risk.”
A draft Air Force Instruction (for those in the Air Force), dealing with social media, is in coordination. This is new ground for some. Consult your supervisor, base Public Affairs office, base legal office or commander if in doubt.