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Social media and you

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jamie Stewart
  • Area Defense Counsel
Did you know that more than 800 million people have a Facebook account, and that 70 percent of all internet users view Facebook? Did you know that, on average, a person sends 58 text messages per day or "tweets" more than 10 times per day?

With at least 15 social networking sites claiming to have at least 100 million registered users, and with major wireless companies ever expanding their technology and service areas, it is clear that social networking and social media play a huge part in people's lives.

With Facebook, Twitter, blogs and smart phones, we have 24-hour access to news, information and can easily stay connected with our family and friends. With a touch of a button, we can update them on our daily lives, emotions and even send pictures of what color socks we are wearing that day. In this technology-driven world, however, be mindful that the information you share on the internet or via text message or tweet has the potential to come back and bite you in the end. Along with operational security and communication security concerns that can threaten our military operations, military members have the obligation to present themselves professionally at all times, and this includes material military members post on the internet or share amongst their friends via Facebook, chat, email and text message.

Social media is a great tool to connect with people and share information on a global network, but it would be prudent to consider all of the ramifications of what you put in writing before you post something. Regardless of the privacy settings of your page or the forum you choose to express yourself, everything on the internet is public domain. Once something is saved electronically, it is very hard to delete it permanently. What is more, there is little to no expectation of privacy with social media despite security settings. Once something is posted or sent, it is there for public consumption, military and non-military alike.

The office of the Area Defense Counsel represents active duty military members who find themselves facing UCMJ or administrative action. Recently, there has been a surge in disciplinary actions taken against military members as a result of posts on social media sites as well as an increase in the amount of evidence obtained from those sites.

If you find yourself in need of our services or have any questions at all about social media and the effect it can have on your career, do not hesitate to give us a call at 773-3248. Remember, we are here to help.