Tips to Improve Your Military Reporting

Tracking Social Media

The Pentagon has reversed a directive that blocked access from U.S. military computers to about 10 social-networking sites, such as YouTube and MySpace. (PDF of the directive that extended the more liberal guidelines for another year).

Troops will have unrestricted access to these and other sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, if security precautions are applied and ethical guidelines are followed. That could be a real benefit for reporters who follow military leaders like Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on Twitter (@thejointstaff) or NATO Commander Adm. James Stravridis on Facebook.

Mullen’s office has issued a “Follow the Chairman” card that lists all his social network accounts.  (Here is Mullen’s full social media strategy outlined in a PDF.).

Admiral Mullen's social media links

The Pentagon has aggregated an extensive list of social media sites for the Department of Defense and each military branch, broken down by type (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Scribe, Delicious, etc.)

The Department of Defense also manages its own social media sites, and has direct news feeds, podcasts and e-mail alerts available.