Cyber warrior of Facebook and Twitter in Afghanistan & Iraq
As of late, the military has restricted the access to deployed servicemembers to typical websites like YouTube, Blogger, Facebook and Twitter due to a combination of operational security, bandwidth use/access and time management. If you attended the Milblogger conference you learned how the different branches have not only allowed but encouraged servicemembers to utilize the above mentioned sites as a force multiplier.
Although bandwidth still prevents a challenge to members at remote outposts, they are offered SPAWAR access that gives units of significant size a chance to piggyback off of larger unit’s bandwidth shots and access the internet. Now with slightly regulated time blocks, members can access these pages and as demonstrated at the Milblog conference, members are allowed and encouraged by their commands to blog compared to some restrictions in the past. In fact some senior officers in the fight against terrorism can now be found frequently on Twittter and similar sites posting.
Many Public Affair units publish stories about active units to keep the public up to date on the progress of their warriors. However, it is the blogs and subsequent posts that help get the word out and the military realizes this. The military has allowed full access to units forward deployed to post stories on the above mentioned webpages and share their relationships and experiences related to a specific event. We have seen the “blogger” generation grow from simply posting one liners of “I’m getting ready to go on a patrol” to now full length stories that fall parallel to those put out by the public affairs that detail their individual experiences.
Still the challenge of bandwidth will remain as the dedicated effort of the system as it is primarily for military operations and public transfer second-thus the restricted use/times by units especially those in remote locations. However, with the recent turn of events, it’s good to see how your warriors (of all ranks) deployed can now relate stories to the public and have the military in their corner encouraging and supporting them.