Posts Tagged ‘US Air Force’
Working over the last few years with UK local Government and Agencies I have noticed just how many still ban employee access to social media due to ‘managagement, IT or security issues’. At a recent Kable event over 70% of the attendees in my session (Sharing Data for citizen engagement) said that they either did not have a policy (and so banned access) or their IT policy was to ban access anyway.
In comparing other Governments policy it is interesting to see how the US Department of Defense (DoD) is approaching it. Here is an article about social media from the troops and family perspective when serving on active duty abroad.
The Department of Defence is now ‘positive’ about social media use and has an official policy covering it. As their web site says they ‘…wecome and encourage all DoD employees and families to use social media…’ but to be aware of the safety and security issues. This is where Net Smart – CyberSafe policy comes in (see logo above and link here). It is interesting that an organisation as large and security concious as the US military has found a way to navigate the issues social media may cause.
As to be expected for such organisation its leadership is embracing social media – the top brass are using Twitter, blogs, Facebook, podcasts and other tools to engage with service personnel and their families as well as the general public. You can see the lists here. They have also created a DoD Social Media Hub where information, best practice and advice can be shared. The hub also includes a central resource listing what parts of the military are actively using social media. The idea is that by sharing examples and best practice everyone can learn without having to manage it as a single massive exercise. In effect they are ‘crowdsourcing’ ideas but within a framework of guides and leaders ‘modelling the way’.
As mentioned in a previous post the US Air Force has produced a guide on social media and its use that is provided to all recruits as part of their basic training. Within the US State Department all employees attend specially designed training programs. These are also run for all employees at US Embassies overseas.
Businesses considering the practical value and use of social media may well find the guides and materials that the US DoD and specific branches of the military have developed useful background reading and good sources of content.
When I am asked for an overview of social media and its value to an organisation I like to refer to what others are saying rather than just my own opinions. That is especially true when the source could be considered a bit unsual.
One of my favourites for that reason is the US Air Force guide to social media. It is also comprehensive in what it covers.
Some may wonder what relevance the military has to a public or private sector organisation. In reality the military face the same issues over whether to allow only a select few in the chain of command to use social media, concerns over security (for them possibly even life or death!) and what should be discussed.
It was first published just under 12 months ago as a guide for their Public Affairs team on why Social Media was important and how best to use it. The 28 page guide ‘New Media and The Air Force‘ (Please note: Version 2 of the guide published in November 2009 is here) has an overview of new media, the reasons why it is important for the US Air Force to participate, guidance on how to do it and top tips plus a useful glossary of terms.
(Note: Version 2 includes a very useful guide on assessing how to respond to comments)
A quick summary of what is in the guide:
- Social media should be regarded as complimenting internal communications, community and media relations.
- Web 2.0 is a vibrant community and the Air Force will be talked about – they should be part of that conversation as it is their story.
- All Air Service personal are part of the communications team. There is a hierachy of command but where social media is concerned everyone has a voice irrespective of rank.
- Air Service staff when blogging are in effect acting as journalists as the news media uses blog posts as news stories
- Public Affairs staff should become trainers and coaches to everyone to help ‘cascade’ communication skills throughout the Air Force
- Air Service staff should remember they are on-duty 365/24 so ‘Always on record. Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all that is done’.
The Top 10 Tips for New Media use:
- Don’t divulge classified information
- Stay on your subject area
- Don’t lie. Stay factual
- Give your opinion but ensure people know it is yours
- Identify yourself (but not so risk safety)
- Put safety first – no death-defying stunts!
- Be aware of the image you present
- Use common sense – don’t says things you would not say in front of your mother
- Take calculated risks
- Engage – others are (or as they put it ‘The enemy is engaged’!)