By T.D. Jackson, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs
CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ind. – Now that the Department of Defense has created and distributed a social media policy, which, in effect allows servicemembers to create and use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter on military installations, Camp Atterbury today will follow suit with the launching of its Facebook page.
Facebook is a social networking Web site that lets people with common interests instantly share their stories, thoughts, observations and ideas. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves.
The goal of the Camp Atterbury Facebook page is three fold: to support Soldiers and their families; to expand Army awareness; and to increase community initiatives. Maj. Lisa Kopczynski, Camp Atterbury public affairs officer, said the installation can only benefit from using social media services.
“This is a way for us to reach out to a broader audience, to really tell them what is going on down here,” said Kopczynski.
“Although we have a fantastic public Web site it doesn’t necessarily mean that people get all the current postings,” she said. “We’ll use Facebook as it’s designed; to pretty much instantly give you current updates on events and activities.”
While Camp Atterbury will have a presence on Facebook, Kopczynski said they do not intend to use Twitter at this time. Camp Atterbury also has access to YouTube but Kopczynski said leaders currently have decided to just monitor the YouTube content that others post.
With the social media permission, still comes restrictions. Military users, to include family members, need to take care not to post sensitive information on any Web site. Sensitive information is information requiring special protection from disclosure that could compromise not only personal security, but national security.
For Soldiers this would include unit movements, specific locations, troop numbers, vehicle counts and certain photographs. For families this would include addresses and phone numbers, recreational activity dates and times, vacation notices and again, certain photographs. When posting photographs of any nature users want to ensure that predators or enemies cannot ascertain information from pictures and use it for harm.
Sgt. Andrew Thomas, an information assurance manager for the Indiana National Guard, said users sometimes can get carried away with information they publish.
“We had people put out on a public Web site the layout of their own building,” Thomas said. “This would be a no-go.”
For military members, Thomas said it’s fine to publish events and activities, but users should keep information “strictly business.”
“If they have to put a phone number on there, make it a business phone number,” he said.
Thomas went on to explain the dangers of posting personal information on public Web sites.
“One thing we got to worry about with Facebook is that it is one of the most targeted sites for exploitation,” he said. “We got to make sure to be mindful of not only what people are putting out there but also what machines they are using.” Thomas explained that if a Facebook user – on a networked computer at work – picked up a virus from that site, he or she could potentially spread that virus to all the other computers.
So while there is excitement about the new networking opportunities, there is also apprehensiveness. Thomas suggested that troops visit https://iatraining.us.army.mil/_usermgmt/login.htm for more information on internet safety.
Pfc. Jeremiah “Lee” Thompson, a mechanic with the 138th Quartermaster Battalion training at Camp Atterbury, said he could understand the concerns.
While he does have a Facebook page, which he mainly uses to connect with friends, he would be hesitant to post anything on his or the installation’s page regarding his Army activities.
“You get in trouble talking too much Soldier stuff,” he said. “I don’t want someone coming looking for me because of something I said.”
Spc. Ross Galemore on the other hand, sees no problem at all. In fact, Galemore even had a few suggestions for what to put on the Camp Atterbury Facebook page.
“You could put MWR hours, maps, local restaurants that deliver on base, points of contact.Anything that would make my life enjoyable here,” Galemore said.
“When you get here sometimes you have no clue where things are and the hours they’re open so things like that would be helpful,” he said. Galemore is with the 172nd Cavalry who will soon be mobilizing to Afghanistan.
Galemore said although he mainly uses Facebook for communication between family and friends, he absolutely would become a fan of the Camp Atterbury page, especially if training photos were posted.
“And that way our families can log on as well and be like ‘hey, let me see if I can find my Soldier on there,’ ” he said. “It’s kind of a big deal. They think it’s pretty neat.”
By T.D. Jackson, Camp Atterbury Public Affairs