Know the ins and outs of social media sites

Base Info
Airmen should always remember operational security when posting to any social media site. Anything published could be used by criminals or adversaries. (U.S. Air Force graphic)
Airmen should always remember operational security when posting to any social media site. Anything published could be used by criminals or adversaries. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Know the ins and outs of social media sites

by: 1st Lt. Brionna N. Ruff | .
8th Fighter Wing PAO | .
published: August 17, 2012

8/16/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- In today's Air Force, social media plays a large part in many Airmen's professional and private lives. Squadrons and groups are becoming more hands-on with getting the word out to their members.

To individuals in the military, social media can be a burden if not used correctly. Here are a few tips to ensure Airmen conform to current Air Force guidance.

In accordance with "The Air Force Guide to Social Media", organizations below the wing level are not allowed to have official, public social media sites. Each official site must be registered with the social-media directory at www.AF.mil/socialmedia.asp.

As a result, this site gives Airmen one location to find all official pages within the Air Force. If a group or squadron is interested in creating an unofficial site it must be closed or private, limiting access only to an internal audience.

At Kunsan Air Base, there are several internal avenues for groups and squadrons to get information to Airmen. The Wolf Pack has a SharePoint site that offers groups and squadrons the ability to distribute important information, templates, forms and other materials pertaining to their unit. Airmen can learn how to manage these sites through training provided by the 8th Communications Squadron.

Additionally, The Water Cooler, an internal site linked from the 8th Fighter Wing's SharePoint page, is another great way to inform Wolf Pack Airmen about any upcoming events or policy changes.

The 8th FW Public Affairs team is here to help. If a unit has any issues to address with the Wolf Pack, Public Affairs can help highlight any unit on the base website, in the peninsula newspaper or the weekly Wolf Show with AFN, to name a few options.

Being at a remote base, away from family and friends, many Airmen use social media to communicate (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter). While the military respects and encourages service members' rights to express themselves in this manner, it is important to remember that as service members everything is considered "on the record." All social-media activity by service members is subject to scrutiny based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"Yes we all have a first amendment right to free speech but as military members, we are subject to discipline under the UCMJ if we take it too far, and even comments made off duty can be the basis for UCMJ action," said Capt. Morgan Engling, 8th FW Judge Advocate, Chief, Civil Law. "Commanders have a variety of administrative options that could be adverse to members even if UCMJ action is not pursued," she added.

Airmen should always remember operational security when posting to any social media site. They should consider how posts can be interpreted by the public and be cautious about being funny versus inappropriate. If a posting concerns the Air Force or a unit specifically, Airmen should discuss first with a supervisor or the Public Affairs staff. Also, Airmen are reminded that anything published could be used by criminals or adversaries.

"The most common OPSEC violations occur when Airmen release unclassified need-to-know information outside Depart of Defense channels," said 1st Lt. Angelica Silva-Garza, 8th FW deputy chief of Plans and Programs. "In order to protect base operations, everyone should think with an OPSEC frame-of-mind on and off duty," she added.

Airmen with questions about the Air Force's social media policies can read the Air Force's "Guide to Effective Social Media Use" located on the web at: http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120327-048.pdf.

Airmen may also reference the updated AFI 1-1 available at: http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI1-1.pdf.

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