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News > Commentary - Loose tweets sink fleets: responsible use of social media is a must
Loose tweets sink fleets
Loose tweets sink fleets; be careful what you post to social media sites! (WWII era poster by Department of Defense used as base graphic, edited by Staff Sgt. Anna-Marie Wyant.)
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Loose tweets sink fleets: responsible use of social media is a must

Posted 9/9/2012   Updated 11/30/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Staff Sgt. Anna-Marie Wyant
920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

9/9/2012 - PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Even if you didn't live through WWII, you've likely heard the saying, "Loose lips sink ships." Nowadays, the saying has evolved to encompass today's communications technology: "Loose tweets sink fleets."

It may sound like a joke, but the fact of the matter is as times have changed, so have our methods of communicating. The easier it is to put information out there, the easier it is to accidentally divulge too much of it. During WWII, loose lips were of great concern, but today, we've swapped talking for tweeting and face-to-face interaction for Facebooking. With the stroke of a key or click of a mouse, you could be putting yourself or your wingmen at risk.

We've never been at a greater risk for accidental information leaks. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media gain more and more users each day; information is becoming more readily available, which is a double-edged sword. Commanders, chiefs and first sergeants can't patrol how each of their Airmen use social media; operations security, or OPSEC, is becoming exponentially harder to enforce. It's up to individual Airmen to ensure they, and even their wingmen, are using social media responsibly.

That said, the Air Force is by no means against the use of social media. In fact, the Department of Defense has embraced it and encourages the use of social media to get command messages out to service members, the community and beyond. Using it properly, however, is key.

The 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs office regularly posts articles, photos and announcements to the wing Facebook page, plus maintains the wing's public website and Twitter and You Tube accounts. They're great ways to distribute non-sensitive, pertinent information in a controlled yet effective way. We want people to know about the amazing things our Airmen do, but we are conscious of the information we share and how we share it.

The Air Force Public Affairs Agency Emerging Technology Division's November 2009 publication Social Media and the Air Force gives tips to remember when using social media, including don't give classified info, stay in your lane, don't lie, be aware of the image you present, use common sense, and know that the enemy is engaged. Following these tips, being vigilant about OPSEC and posting with care will likely keep you -- and your wingmen -- out of trouble.

YOU are responsible for your social media use; therefore, YOU can be held accountable for what you post and what's posted on your Facebook page, Twitter account, blog, et cetera. Don't sink the fleet -- or your own career.

For more information about the 920th RQW, check out the wing's website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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