AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
In 2004, General James Hoss Cartwright blazed a new trail for the use of social media in the military when he introduced the concept of a blog system to tie together all of the United States Strategic Command USSTRATCOM headquarters. After the militarys first use of chat in command and control using basic mIRC chat back in the 1990s, the inclusion of social media in military networks had not gained significant traction. Although some type of social media was eventually included in the designs of each services main internet portals, Cartwrights mandate represented one of the first top-down command-directed organizational changes for social media use. In the new communication centric environment, this change had tremendous potential -- either for dramatic success or disappointing failure. Through a period of challenge, adaptation, and public fanfare, USSTRATCOM assumed the role as the militarys social media and communications vanguard. Seven years later, military organizations can use the Cartwright blog to improve current and future uses of social media as effective communications tools. The Wikimedia definition of social media, as accepted and re-published by the Air Force, includes the digital, computerized, or networked information and communication technologies which contribute to the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. The organizational introduction of social media in the Air Force, and within the military as a whole, has been incremental at best. Popular social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and wikis have been widely adopted by the general public for a multitude of advantages related to collaboration in both business and personal information enterprises. With the improved access provided by these tools, information seekers and information-sharing users can collaborate with improved efficiencies.