For Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley and other Army brass, a new era has brought a new language — and new tools like online social networks Twitter and Facebook — for seeking out young recruits and spreading the military’s message.
Showing off the videos during an interview at his office at Fort Monroe, Freakley said some of the questions were surprising: Can I have a dog in the Army?
The Army isn’t the only branch of the military with Facebook friends or that has a following on Twitter. The Air Force has also established a Facebook page, Twitter feeds and a blog, while the Marine Corps is using various networking sites mainly for recruiting purposes. The Navy is “experimenting” with several forms of online media, and some of its commands are using Twitter, a spokesman said. Even the Coast Guard commandant regularly updates his Facebook status while traveling.
Earlier this year, the Army established an online and social media division within its public affairs office. The division’s director, Lt. Col. Kevin Arata, said the search is on every day to find new avenues online to reach not only soldiers, but their families and the general public.The Army has also added to its Web site video games, a virtual recruiter and clips that answer commonly asked questions about life in uniform.