New Department of Defense website hosts social media and Q&A features

Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs

Price Floyd, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, was on the DoDLive Bloggers Roundtable yesterday discussing the recent launch of the Department of Defense’s new home page, http://www.Defense.gov. Visitors to the new site will quickly notice icons linking to the DoD’s official presence on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, amongst others. Additionally, at the top of the page there is a box that says, “We Want to Hear From You.” This box links to a page that allows participation from the public. Specifically, it allows users the opportunity to ask questions of Defense Department leaders, vote on policy issues they want explained, and explore frequently asked questions and answers.  (Note that the new site, http://www.Defense.gov, replaces http://www.DefenseLink.mil as DoD’s main Internet presence.)

The inclusion of social media links and an open Q&A may seem at odds with recent news reports about some service branches banning access to social media sites while others are allowing access. Yet, Mr. Floyd stated that the idea for these initiatives on the new Website came directly from Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. Sec. Gates wanted to hear from people and engage with them. Opening up Q&A and participating in social media allows the public to share their ideas and will give the Secretary, and other DoD leadership, the chance to hear what people are thinking.

Additionally, DoD realized that service members in the combat arena have been ahead of the game and using these tools for a long time and now DoD had to play catch up to communicate on the same playing field. Mr. Floyd stated that DoD has “three audiences–internal, the American public and overseas. Our target audience is 18 to 25. We want them to take part and ask questions. We want to keep the audience we have, but build up and capture younger audiences.” Including social media links shows that the DoD recognizes the importance of the potential audience, and realizes where they are participating. Mr. Floyd emphasized that operations security is still paramount and DoD needs to push that message, especially in the social media realms.

Overall, the new Website holds promise for the DoD, as well as for the service branches that fall under its purview. Transparency and conversation continue to be important for all types of organizations, and opening up dialogue is a great step to share ideas. As always, in an effort to continue open dialogue, we welcome your comments, suggestions and questions about the Air Force.

You can visit and interact with us at the following Websites:

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/AFPAA
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Usairforce
Flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/usairforce
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/user/afbluetube
Blog:  http://airforcelive.dodlive.mil/

Posted by Paul F. Bove, Digital Media Strategist

Air Force Public Affairs Agency, Emerging Technology Division