The United States Army just released the second edition of their Social Media Handbook. Its 48-pages of detailed information include everything from instructions on how to start a blog to what not to tweet. The tips in the handbook essentially fall into one of two categories. The first category is made up of pretty useful social media tips that apply to everyone; the second comprises of quasi-cryptic instructions on how not to embarrass the Army or get someone killed because of a tweet. Since the Army's first handbook came out in January, the world has shown us how powerful social media can be, both for its potential and its dangers. The Army has taken note and passed them along to our nation's soldiers most directly with a list of DOs and DON'Ts for Facebook and Twitter. We've quoted some of the more interesting ones below.
DO: "Spell check every post prior to posting; the Army’s reputation is at stake."
DON'T: "Use social media (teen) language in professional posts (ex: i wanna b ur bff 2day & 4evr)."
DO: "Use short, raw, catchy video."
DON'T: "Use boilerplate messages or snoozy press releases, unless necessary."
DO: "Update top 5 photos often (show a variety of activities, angles, personnel, etc.)."
DON'T: "Use geotagged programs (ex: showing location where you are Tweeting or Facebooking)."
REMEMBER: "It only takes one unprofessional slip to taint a reputation."
DO: "Tweet Army senior leader quotes."
DON'T: "Tweet too many times in a day (you will lose followers)."
DO: "Follow other Army and DoD Twitter accounts."
DON'T: "Follow imposters or those with religious or political affiliation."
DO: "Become the go-to resource for timely news and information."
DON'T: "Add location to tweets."
REMEMBER: "Once a tweet is out there, it is out there."
*We're also proud to report that The Atlantic Wire's own Elspeth Reeve gets shout-out on page 19 for an article she wrote about the Army's policy for suicidal soldiers to wear blaze orange vests. The Army points to General Peter Chiarelli's commenting on the blog as an example of successful engagement. "By personally commenting on the blog, General Chiarelli changed the narrative, as did the blogger." The Army also changed the policy in response to the article.