Yes; but it depends. Depends on how it’s done, if it’s done correctly, transparently and creates a dialogue. It needs to be done with a purpose of supporting an overall communication program as well. So, for missions like Public Affairs, real-time micro blogs like Twitter have become an effective way of communicating a short message to many people (one’s following) because they then re-post messages to their followings.
The Public Affairs folks at Air Force Materiel Command are venturing into the Twitter craze and “will tweet the Annual AFMC Enlisted Awards live as they are announced Thursday, 9 April at the National Museum of the United States Air Force,” said Mr. Ron Fry, Director of Public Affairs at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio.
“We will tweet the names of the winners” and “to receive these tweets, sign-up to follow AFMC’s official Twitter site: “AFMC_Now” he said.
Mr Fry said that DoD employees may be blocked from viewing Twitter at work and encourages interested people to sign up from their mobile device or at home.
He also said this is “one of many steps the Air Force has taken to keep up with changing technology and adapt to the way people receive news.”
A few recent examples how micro-blogging helped get the Air Force message out, include:
– An aircraft crash that did not happen.
– An aircraft crash that did happen.
– Creating buzz on Air Force projects. Look at a post from BuzzBin on Public Affairs Guidance
– An Air Force Squadron Commander at Keesler AFB, MS uses Twitter to update family members on base issues when the evacuate the base due to Hurricanes. It’s possible to provide updates from mobile devices, is text based so it doesn’t require tremendous bandwith and augments traditional leadership updates.
– You can check out the real-time results of the keyword search “Air Force” here.
Twitter is not new to the military or the Air Force. Air Force Public Affairs has several profiles: @afpaa, @airforce, @US_Air_Force and many units and individuals around the service have their own as well.
Safety and Security online:
Microblogging, specifically Twitter these days, allows any Airman to connect their story to millions; however Airmen should always know that anyone anywhere can see posts and good OPSEC and COMSEC rules should always be used.
A good rule of thumb from Social Media expert David Meerman Scott: “Never say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say to your mom at the dinner table.” Very good rule David.