Sunday, July 18, 2010

United States Pacific Air Forces make friends with social media

Singaporean defence enthusiasts who have attended excursions to Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) events will be able to relate to the social media outreach described below. Many thanks to Viper52 for surfacing this report.

Pacific Air Forces Airmen pioneer C-17 flight with social media

by Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces public affairs

7/16/2010 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Pacific Air Forces Airmen entered a new realm by demonstrating PACAF air drop capabilities to social media aboard two C-17 Globemaster IIIs during the Rim of the Pacific exercise July 16, here.

The 13 social media members witnessed air drops of heavy platforms over a simulated forward operating base in Hawaii and landed at Kona Airport, Hawaii. Departing back to Joint Base Hickam, media members photographed an F-16 Fighting Falcon as it intercepted the C-17s.

"This was a great opportunity to reach an audience that other media may not reach," said Lee Hopkinson, a social media member with

The media members instantly updated their audiences by posting blogs and images describing the mission flown by 535th Airlift Squadron Airmen.

"It's not just about the six o'clock news any more," said Justin Cruz, a social media member for a Hawaii news channel. "It's about the web site and all the blogs."

"Social media can be a resource for traditional media," Mr. Cruz said. "They can go in places that traditional media can't be all of the time and they reach a younger technical savvy audience."

The social media members were with nine traditional media covering the C-17 mission, PACAF member's air contribution to RIMPAC, which includes more than 14 nations, 32 ships, five submarines, more than 170 aircraft and more than 20,000 Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines.

News of exercises and other PACAF activities are now commonly published in social networking sites, such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. Some Airmen realize the potential to reach audiences in this fashion.

"We're excited to build and develop new relationships with additional people to help tell the Air Force story," said Lt. Col. Maria Carl, PACAF director of public affairs. "It's always good to have as many voices as possible to tell the Air Force story."

"I like to think that PACAF has been out in front and part of that is just by virtue of being so far forward here in the Pacific," Colonel Carl said. "With the distances being what they are it requires us to be a bit more innovative about how we deliver our messages. Part of it is because (Pacific Command), our combatant command, has taken a big initiative in the social media arena so that's been conducive to us doing the same at the air component level."

Airmen across the Air Force are now being encouraged to use social media to communicate about topics in their area of profession.

"All Airmen have a role in promoting public understanding of our service," said Gen. Gary North, PACAF commander, in a memorandum to PACAF Airmen. "U.S. citizens need this perspective to appreciate our service, commitment and sacrifice and to allow them to understand our Air Force, so they can make informed decisions.

General North also cautioned Airmen to abide by operational security guidelines and to protect critical information when posting to social media sites. He said not to divulge classified, official or sensitive material, which could jeopardize the Air Force mission.


xtemujin said...

I realised the power and impact of social media from Corporal Dave Teo Ming case.

It was first reported by a clone account in the popular Singapore forum.

Anthony said...

wow... PAFF could learn from PACAF lol!