The U.S. Navy’s social media manual and (not) “flattening communications”

October 17, 2010
The U.S. Navy has produced a social media handbook including guidance for sailors and Navy personnel as well as a section for commanders.
 
In the introduction, the Navy’s Chief of Information, Denis Moynihan, suggests the manual is necessary because "the rapid growth of social media platforms and technologies have flattened and democratized the communications environment in ways we are just beginning to comprehend". 
 
He says "effective communication" has always been an important part of the success of the Navy’s missions and highlights the recent operation in Haiti as a way in which social media can be used to publicise the Navy’s efforts.
 
Although much of it is what you might expect, including guidance on accuracy, trust, privacy, safety and operational security ("loose tweets sink fleets"), there are a few interesting nuggets.
 
In particular, a section establishing a social media presence for Navy commanders recommends that they have one ‘command presence’ on each social media platform rather than having lots of individual units or offices with their own accounts.
 
The handbook expressed concerns that too many accounts would "splinter the audience" for the individual command and that multiple accounts would also be more time-consuming to manage.
 
Although the handbook says commanders can use their discretion if subordinates want their own accounts, the Navy is nevertheless recommending a unified, hierarchical approach.
 
So much, then, for the introductory piece about social media platforms flattening and democratising communications…
 
A full copy is available on Slideshare:
Navy Command Social Media Handbook – Online Version

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