It all began, so it seems, with a tweet from way up the chain of command. In a previous post, we shared with you how Adm. Mike Mullen reiterated a point that he made through an article published on the Pentagon website in less than 140 characters via Twitter. Technically, a service member can have a social media life.
On Friday, though, the Pentagon made an announcement that will change that. It announced that it is authorizing the use of Twitter, Facebook, and other sites classified as “Web 2.0” across the U.S. military, according to a report by Reuters. The article mentioned that the Pentagon said that “the benefits of social media outweighed security concerns”.
Apparently, the Pentagon concedes that social media is becoming increasingly important for the military. The article even mentioned how the military’s “top honcho,” Admiral Mullen, has a twitter following that is 16,000 strong. As far as reaching out to people is concerned, social media indeed has its perks.
While assisting in relief operations in Haiti, the US Southern Command gave operational updates via Twitter. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also mentioned that he intended to “use social networking to help the Pentagon interact with U.S. military members, many of whom are in their early 20s”.
Those who are opposed to the idea, however, are concerned about the Pentagon’s arriving at such a decision at a time when cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent, and hackers increasingly bold. The decision, according to Reuters, “applies only to the military’s non-classified network.”