Navy leads DOD efforts in social media engagement honoring Pearl Harbor Day

The Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor has been commemorated annually over the decades, and over time the day of remembrance has evolved into one during which people from all over the world use social media to remember, discuss and honor those killed and that survived the military attack that led the U.S. into World War II.

In the week leading up to Pearl Harbor Day, the Defense Department, in Navy-led efforts, has been using social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and their respective blogs to engage the public in remembering the attack that killed and wounded thousands. On Twitter “Pearl Harbor” at times was trending, the phrase a popular topic of 140-character discussions around the world.

“For Pearl Harbor we utilized platforms and began about a week ago in sharing content that helps tell the Pearl Harbor story through our Navy sailors and through the survivors.” said Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello, Navy director of emerging media. “We’ve been encouraging fans and followers to engage, comment and share, and even create their own content, which we’ve posted. We’re using social media to create and advance conversation.”

The Navy (@USNavy) has been actively tweeting throughout the week and especially on the day of commemoration, including commentary on the ceremonies taking place at Pearl Harbor. The Navy Facebook page has had ongoing active conversations, and on its blog, stories submitted by fans discussing their own Pearl Harbor experiences have been posted.

DOD’s social media outlets, including its Twitter account, have also been involved in cross-promoting Pearl Harbor-related conversation as part of its own integrated social media strategy, according to Navy Lt. Tiffani Walker, operations officer for social media at Defense Media Activity.

“We’ve followed the Navy’s lead on things like creating a unifying hashtag for Twitter…this is their commemoration,” Walker said. Those using Twitter to follow Pearl Harbor Day conversations can search using the #Pearl70 hashtag.

According to Servello, the Pearl Harbor Day social media activities are in keeping with other important naval military events – Veterans Day, Sept. 11, the Navy’s birthday – and also fall in line with the broader vision of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

“The idea of naval heritage is important to our CNO; we use events like this to emphasize our heritage and the lessons learned back then that are still relevant today,” Servello said. “Pearl Harbor was a significant event 70 years ago, but it still remains significant today. It can seem distant; we decided to use social media to connect and show how relevant it is.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Fri, Dec 9, 2011 Rev Honolulu

Nice coverage of the Navy's efforts, which absolutely WERE great. However, to say that DOD social media efforts were a Navy-led initiative is an incorrect and limiting statement. The Navy's efforts got the most notice simply because everyone thinks of Pearl Harbor when Dec. 7 comes around. The U.S. Pacific Air Forces began a month-long social media campaign highlighting the sacrifice and courage of the Army Air Forces at Hickam, Wheeler, and Bellows Fields that same day -- and over 200 Airmen and civilians were killed and many aircraft destroyed. On Dec. 7 itself, @PACAF did "as it happened" minute-by-minute updates. It simply wasn't as widely noticed because Pearl Harbor is always going to be the big draw.

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