Military family members make case for social media

The Defense Department recently invited military spouses and other family members to weigh in on the debate about the role of social media in the military. Here is a sampling of the 275 comments officials received through the DOD Web 2.0 Guidance Forum.

How valuable and what are the benefits of Web 2.0/social-media tools to military families with loved ones who are deployed?

One thing missing from e-mail is the humor and emotional content that is available on social networks. I am an avid Facebook user, and sometimes my daughter can see that I am thinking about her when I send her a “gift” like a heart or a flower. Sure, they’re just icons, but how old does “I love ya” get? (Gary)

As the mother of a soldier currently deployed in Afghanistan, I find the use of Facebook priceless. With the time difference, he is able to give a brief message or leave an e-mail on his time, rather than staying up until all hours. When I get up in the morning, I am able to see if he updated his post. This lets me get started on my day without having the constant worry of “Is he OK?” (Janine)

Think of social-media sites as the “common operating picture” for friends and family. Although separated by time zone and space, friends and family can keep up in real time, or in “shifted time,” with what is going on in people’s lives via text, images, video and audio. For the deployed service member, the value is they can quickly scan their list of friends/family and have an idea of what is going on so that the next e-mail, chat or phone call is more pointed, more relevant and more connected. (Daniel)

What if Web 2.0/social-media tools were NOT available to military members serving overseas?

Without social media, I’d still be able to communicate with my sailor. But he wouldn’t be able to stay connected to all those friends who, although they care about him, aren’t so close that they’re going to write weekly. … He’s a reservist, and he’ll be gone for a year. When he comes back, he’ll need to reconnect with those friends to get back to normal, and he worries that they won’t be there. Facebook helps ease that worry. (Meagen)

If you’re a soldier, I know you can relate to this: Missing your first anniversary, the birth of your child or their first birthday, their first steps or words. These are things you will never get back and something that each soldier wants to feel like they are a part of. Pictures and videos posted on these media sites are the only way some of the soldiers can see these things. (Gina)

My mom and dad met when my mom was 14 and my dad was 18. He was headed to Vietnam with her older brother. My dad liked her and mailed her letters saying so. She never received the letters that my dad sent to her. He thought she didn’t like him. They almost didn’t get together because of that. Communication is one of the most basic and essential emotional needs that a human has. Lack of communication seriously affects morale, emotional wellness and even mental wellness. (Tammy)


  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.