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December 15, 2008


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» Case Study: U.S. Air Force Social & Traditional PR from Member-to-Member
The social media consultant's mantra lately has been "social media needs to be integrated with traditional marketing channels". While this seems self evident and I've written about it before, Last week I found a great example from the U.S. Air Force I ... [Read More]


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Linda Ld Jacobson, APR

Very interesting post. Thanks for highlighting armed forces' social media. I agree; the chart is a useful tool.

Scheherazade Mason

Love it. Thanks for this link. I work with students who want to work for the US Government, and one of the constant frustrations is the lack of transparency and information about various departments. Those depts that adopt social media will have so much more luck recruiting talented young people. It's great to see examples like this.

Matt Scherer


The problem with the Air Force is that while they have an ongoing social media strategy, they don't have the authorization to get fulltime access to Twitter and other blogs. Their communication types don't want to allow them outside the firewall. A few proactive PA types are now getting a laptop that allows them to see what the world is blogging about, but until this happens, the Air Force is woefully way behind.

There's been a lot of discussion on the LinkedIn Group "Dinfos Trained Killers" on this topic. As the tribe leader, I have been discussing this issue with current and former public affairs types.

By the way, DINFOS is the official tech school for public affairs types. Both Al Gore and Dan Quayle are graduates of this school besides regular guys like me.

Captain David Faggard

David, thanks for helping us get the word out about AF and Social Media.

Matt S. comments well taken. However, know now that Air Force recently developed solid solutions to overcome any obstacle placed in front of us due to mailicious content, bandwidth challenges, etc. There was a time when Airmen could not access certain sites, however solutions were developed to overcome them. It will take time as issues arise and are worked. Keep up the work in the "trained killers" group. Proud member and love the comments.

All - please know the folks in the Air Force are completely dedicated to creating a truthful and transparent discussion on-line. The New Media efforts really is becoming a ground-swell and is fostering at every level. From the folks at Air University to Air Education and Training Command.

Jason Tudor

There is also the issue of an unbroken paradigm that has stood for decades: new methods of delivery, but same methods of determining and staffing release. It's a corporate paradigm. It's based on profit and loss. I understand why it exists. But it does exist.

In other words, the good news always gets a quick push while the neutral or "bad" news sits until it HAS to/must be be released. In the end, at least for the armed services, there may be more avenues and opportunities to place the information, but there will still be the same thought process going into how and when that information is released. And the worst news still gets released on Fridays. :) Factor in that many traditional media are a dumpster fire (esp. newspapers) and what's happening is more likely a shift from horse to car rather than from passive to interactive.

Corporate necessity aside, regardless of what many believe new media might conquer, for corporations, it's just a better bullhorn for the same messaging.

Ari Herzog

I'm surprised you and Captain Faggard didn't talk about the "Air Force 2.0" programs run out of the Air Education and Training Command, namely a Second Life-like virtual recruiting environment called MyBase, as I recently wrote here:



I am intrigued by the chart - it looks good but I wonder how well it is followed? But I am impressed with the intentional effort made not to engage the angry trolls and ragers. You could try but it's better to focus your constructive ideas on the unhappy ones, ones that are influencable.

Bert DuMars

David - Great post. As someone who formerly worked in the Federal Government it is great to see the Air Force being so progressive in the approach to citizen engagement and social media marketing and communications. Love the Air Force Blog Assessment tool - such a great tool for the airmen engaging with the public. This tool also has great potential for use in the private sector.

Justin Levy

This is a really interesting post and I enjoyed the chart that the Air Force put together. I find the use of social media and other inbound marketing tools by the US Government a very interesting space.

Sarah Montague

Interesting post &chart. I wondered to if they were doing any outreach in Dad/Mom parent blog space. I see the Army has set up Web site where parents of prospective recruits can apparently talk to parents of soldiers and I guess it is a support group of sorts for army parents. www.goarmyparents.com

Yellow SEO

It is great to see Capt. David Faggard bring the Airforce into the world of social media especially considering alot of corporations are still struggling to to socail media right, but then again the Airforce has always been at the front on technology.


It seems as though Captain Faggard and I *may* have been separated at birth:



Thanks David, for bringing this noble and inventive warrior and his team to our attention. It is an inspiring story that many of us in the government sector need to hear.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

Tara Gowland

Interesting! Thanks for the post!

Leslie Gaines Ross

Thanks for the post. I found it very interesting and useful as a smart way to sustain the reputation of the Air Force. Plus their use of social media is excellent. Appreciate. Mentioned on my blog as well.

Leslie Gaines-Ross

Easton Ellsworth

David, just stumbled across this. Very cool indeed. Thanks!

"We'll make mistakes, but it is kind of cool to see what we can do." That's astounding to hear from the military.

Joseph Hurtado


What the Air Force and Captain Flaggard are doing is impressive.

The first rule of Public Relations is don’t stand still to negative news, think and react. This puts that rule into a workable framework for the web2.0 world. The reason I believe this is the first rule, is that nothing runs faster than bad news, and the web can become a PR nightmare if not managed properly. It can also be a big blessing, as President Elect B. Obama can probably confirm.

I think we could actually change the title of the chart and make it: Air Force Web Posting Response Assessment Strategy. The Rules apply to Twitter, Digg, Slashdot, YouTube, Blogs, etc.

It’s a very well reasoned approach that no doubt the Air Force and Captain Flaggar will improve upon.

I first saw your post through Twitter, and then through Joey De Villa a blogger from Toronto... it's amazing how we link to a source; but it's worth the clicks and the reading.

Happy New Year!

Rob Mowery

Def. good insight. The AirForce is 95% further ahead than most DoD and other gov't agencies. They should be commended for these efforts.
The only others that I know of that are using mainstream technologies are Letting you know that Dept. of State http://connect.state.gov and also the contest they are running at http://www.connectcontest.state.gov
Also there is http://www.govloop.com that has a pretty good following and has more of what other gov't agencies and departments have done.
I think the new administration will bring much more of a push to get gov't and people to connect. Already with President Obama's Changes site we are seeing this and how his campaign utilized emerging tech/communications to win the election. It can only get better with visionaries at the helm.

Bobby Gill

Thanks, this flow chart is really useful for people who are blogging and participating in forums as well.


tom veil

"the people out there in the blogosphere who have negative opinions about the US government and the air force."

What about those of us with positive opinions about the US government and negative opinions about the air force?

John Cass

David, interesting post, I really enjoyed reading the chart; I think it makes a lot of sense, and is helpful to the whole community.

I was wondering about the issue of airmen representing the government? Isn't that a conflict of interests on the part of the air force, and against the advice of Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? See this article from the Herald.


After all isn't the role of the military in a democracy to follow the order of the current Government, and take a neutral stance in politics. I would have thought if there was any policy discussion online, you'd both want a coordinated effort and the statement from the elected government. Otherwise wouldn't our military be too politicized?

I’d be curious to hear if you discussed this issue with the Captain and what guidelines he gives the service men and women?

David Meerman Scott

John, No, I did not discuss that particular issue.


Air Force people should have all rights to social media. I have a son who can never go to the Air Force. He has Hemophilia. I wish his doctors would get on Twitter or some kind of social media. My son has a real battle just trying to work with the doctors and get the treatment he needs. Hemotologists and hemophilia doctors and nurses should find hobbies and other activities like Twitter rather than agitating, getting irritable with patients, and baggering hemophilliacs. Is is not their fault that they have hemophilia. Let the Air Force get on Twitter if that's all they want to do. Mabye the hemophilia doctors and nurses will do the same and let the patients live and enjoy life.

Kyla Cromer

Thanks so much for sharing this info and the chart.


Why is our military engaged in "public relations?" I thought the role of our military was to execute the policies of the United States of America under the direct orders of our Commander-in-Chief?

If military personnel want to express themselves, they should do so as citizens. The Air Force, as a military force, should not be in the business of influencing public opinion, period.

I question the Constitutionality of this effort. Has the White House legal council reviewed this or Attorney General Holder?

Affiliate Marketing

Thanks for the flow chart. I'd love to pass this on to my disgruntled web design clients who think that it's my fault that they've got negative comments on their website and / or want me to censor every thing that's negative.

Go AirForce!


Very interesting post.


Great Post!!! Also check out www.Service-Connected.com its the first secure dot-mil social networking site for US Troops Worldwide. Good Following Of US Troops.

Frank Stellman

Go US Military!!! I just joined http://www.Service-Connected.com its an exciting new emerging technology thats troops have taken a liking to.

Cherry Emery

Thanks a lot for your useful tips who uses social media Frequently .

Joni Geels

To John Cass & bcameron,

Would you want a military who operated in secrecy and didn't disclose their mission to the public who finances that mission? It is the duty of each armed service to report to the public what they are working on: from the war on terror to global humanitarian efforts, the Public Affairs Officer is charged with ensuring the public is informed. These innovative social media efforts from Capt. Faggard and his team of 330,000 communicators should applauded.

David Meerman Scott

Joni - very well said. Thanks for the comment. David

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Now this is interesting I thought, the Air Force on Twitter.

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In an environment where many corporations are scared witless about social media, here a huge global organization firmly committed to social media communications to spread messages


David - Great post. As someone who formerly worked in the Federal Government it is great to see the Air Force being so progressive in the approach to citizen engagement and social media marketing and communications. Love the Air Force Blog Assessment tool - such a great tool for the airmen engaging with the public. This tool also has great potential for use in the private sector. http://www.filepasswords.com


Thanks for the flow chart. I'd love to pass this on to my disgruntled web design clients who think that it's my fault that they've got negative comments on their website and / or want me to censor every thing that's negative. http://www.fullmediafire.com

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A great article this. Bookmarked it ages ago and now I am updating our company website I would like to use the image in a blog post I am writing. Will obviously be linking back to this article. Perhaps you could let me know if that would be okay?

Actively Social

Hi David! Thanks for sharing a great article and flow chart! I am also surprised to learn that the Twitter ID belongs the US Air Force.


Thanks for this great article. It's rare to see some actual reporting taking place in posts. I just subscribed to you based off of that alone. This is a perfect example to show as why any and all companies can and should get online, despite privacy concerns. If the Airforce can do it, no one has an excuse.

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Go go air force! I love this idea about social media integration. It helps to raise people's awareness of what's happening in the army today, and that's what we call democracy!

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So coincidentally, I am to write an article about the subject that you are talking about. I think you really have a wonderful point and the information you have provided has indeed helped me a lot. I really needed this, thanks so much for posting!

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