Social Media: Great tools to use, but don’t abuse them

Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr. is the Commanding General of III Corps and Fort Hood

This Army Live blog post was written by Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr. who is the commanding general of III Corps in Fort Hood, Texas.

One of the fastest growing phenomena on the Internet today is social media. This new computer age is nothing like when I was a young Army officer. My sources of information included the newspaper, the radio, or the greatest invention of all, the television. Now as the III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, I have no less than five media devices on me at all times.

Let’s admit it, these days you can have information whenever and wherever you want it, now information finds you.

It’s on our phones, laptops, net books and iPads. You can’t get away from it.

However, social media has taken the information age one step further. In my day, we could only consume information; we had very limited ability to give our thoughts on a matter. However, now we can respond instantly. Social media is the two-way street that gives us the ability to share our thoughts with others.

In today’s military, service members are experiencing more time away from their immediate and extended Families.

However, they have a lot to share with their Family, friends and other folks, and fortunately, social media helps bridge the gap. Social media gives us an opportunity to instantly reach out and connect regardless of time, space or distance.

However, there are risks. The Army must maintain high standards for operational security, and this is especially important when using social media. As social media is quickly evolving with the means to distribute information, operational security becomes essential.

I want all of our leaders here at III Corps and Fort Hood to communicate with their Soldiers, Family Readiness Support Assistants and our civilians about the risks of sharing sensitive information on social media, and incorporate social media into your regular OPSEC training.

We have to remember that there are bad folks out there looking at social networks for any information they can find regarding our Soldiers, their Families and our military goals and objectives.

That said, our Soldiers and Families must remember to practice good operational security with online communications.

Some security items to consider while online are (taken from the U.S. Army Social Media Handbook):

▪ Take a close look at all privacy settings. Set security options to be visible to “friends only.”

▪ Do not reveal sensitive information about yourself such as schedules and event locations.

▪ Ask, “What could the wrong person do with this information?” and “Could it compromise the safety of myself, my Family or my unit?”

Geotagging is a feature that reveals your location to other people within your network. Consider turning off the GPS function of your Smartphone.

▪ Closely review photos before they go online. Make sure they do not give away sensitive information that could be dangerous if released.

▪ Be sure to talk to Family about operational security and what can and cannot be posted.

Videos can go viral quickly; make sure they don’t give away sensitive information.

Our Soldiers have always, and will always, be the Army’s best and most effective messengers. That’s why today’s Army social media enables the Army Family around town, around the country and around the world to stay connected and spread the word about the Army, both the good and bad. I encourage all Soldiers and Family members to use social media to connect and tell their stories to Family and friends, but to do so safely.

Phantom Warriors! Army Strong!