Published June 11, 2009
American soldiers can now tweet, send friend requests and share photos and personal news just like the rest of the World Wide Web.
The U.S. Army is reversing a years-long policy of blocking the Web hotspots on military networks, ordering its network managers to allow access to social media sites including Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
"The Army has recently made access to several social media Web sites available from the Army home page within the .mil domain," reads an Army order issued to Directors of Information Management and labeled "for official use only."
First reported on Wired.com's Danger Room, the order explains it is "the intent of senior Army leaders to leverage social media as a medium to allow soldiers to 'tell the Army story' and to facilitate the dissemination of strategic, unclassified information, the social media sites available from the Army homepage http://www.army.mil, will be made accessible from all campus area networks."
A similar push to expand technology savvy and Internet accessibility can be seen on the Military Health System. The site -- created to provide the latest health information and news to U.S. troops -- has now added social networking sites including MySpace, YouTube and Twitter.
A section dubbed the MHS Social Media Hub allows for a wide range of interactive Web activity, including blogging, uploading videos and photos and logging into social networks like MySpace.
The MHS site targets young soldiers with hip, conversational language, including headlines like "It's Men's Health Month, Man!"
The policy reversal applies only to Army bases in the United States.