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Vandenberg reaches public, Airmen through social networking site

Social networking has taken the Air Force above and beyond a new horizon, ushering in a new era in the way we share the Air Force story. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Social networking has taken the Air Force above and beyond a new horizon, ushering in a new era in the way we share the Air Force story. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing recently took another a step into cyberspace with the creation of a page on Facebook.

The move to join a social networking site is part of a push by the Department of Defense to better communicate with the public and with servicemembers.

Price Floyd, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, said he plans to expand efforts already under way at the Defense Department to tap into social media outlets to reach audiences not reachable through other, more traditional, means.

"Airmen these days get their information from online news, blogs and social networking sites," Chief Master Sgt. Angelica Johnson, the 30th SW command chief. "These sites are the new commander's information tools and where we will find our Airmen and potential new recruits."

While the 30th SW Public Affairs office oversees the Facebook page, uploading news and current events relevant to Vandenberg, "fans" are invited to contribute to the site as well. Wing leadership is encouraging Team V to become fans of the page and share photos and videos from base events, TDYs and deployments.

"I highly encourage Team V to take an active part in the 30th Space Wing's page on Facebook," said Chief Johnson. "Become a fan and begin to upload photos and videos. Send in your blogs to Public Affairs. Use the site to show your family and friends back home, as well as other Vandenberg Airmen, what you're doing here and abroad. This is your chance to tell the Air Force story from your perspective."

When uploading photos or videos, or writing blog entries, Airmen must remember operational security and uphold standards expected of all military members, according to "New Media and the Air Force," a recent Air Force Public Affairs Agency publication. This means not divulging classified or "For Official Use Only" information, as well as not posting photos that would bring discredit upon the Air Force.

Although 30th SW Public Affairs will check the site to ensure compliance with these rules, the wing is seeking active participation from both Airmen and the public. The Defense Department is looking for more two-way communication between military leaders and their people, as well as with the public.

"It's not just better one-way communication; it's better two-way communication," said Mr. Floyd. "It's not just us reaching people; it is them reaching us, too. What we need to do is make sure our policies are explained and understood by the widest possible audience, and that we allow that audience to respond."

Using a social media site, such as Facebook, will do just that, allowing the public to communicate directly with the 30th SW.

"If a person posts a question about something happening at Vandenberg, they'll get a response," said Stefan Bocchino, the 30th SW Public Affairs chief. "I think this will prove to be a great communication tool for Vandenberg."

To visit the 30th SW's page on Facebook, click here. To read "New Media and the Air Force," click here. For the Air Force's official .mil blog, click here.

(Editor's note: The 30th SW page on Facebook is not accessible from .mil computers. Please visit the site from a home computer.)