It is time to get a seat at the social media table. You may be comfortable with the use of social media in your private life or it may be altogether new to you. Either way, one thing is clear, social media is not going away. Our culture has embraced it as an extremely useful tool for personal and professional communication, and the media is increasingly reliant on social media platforms for sharing news and engaging with their audiences.
Army leaders have always faced the challenge of communicating effectively with geographically dispersed Soldiers and Families, and leaders have traditionally relied on the press to communicate with the public. Today, leaders who face the same communication challenges can use social media to communicate directly with Soldiers and Families everywhere — as well as the general public.
But leaders who make use of social media should always keep in mind that social media engagement is most effective when the message is tailored specifically to the social media platform and its audience (or user base). And the effectiveness of a message should always be measured afterward to guide the design of future such communications efforts.
Remember, the more that things change, the more they stay the same. At its core, social media is a powerful new tool we use to communicate. What sets it apart from other communication tools is the freedom, immediacy, and breadth it can give our messages.