Remember the old days of a U.S. Army recruiting booth set up in your high school cafeteria, that “Army of One” poster in the gym or a recruiting office in the local strip mall? Now, there’s an app for those. The Army has launched a new iPhone app that embraces both the smartphones flying off store shelves and the latest in social media.
The new blogging app, dubbed “Army Strong Stories,” is described by the Army as a “natural extension of the Army’s ongoing commitment to engage potential recruits via social media channels.”
The free app gives Army soldiers the ability to “blog anytime, anywhere,” by opening access to more than 600 soldier bloggers’ content and allowing users to share their own “Army Strong” stories, photos and videos via their iPhone, Android or Blackberry.
The Army cited Nielsen research predicting that 50 percent of Americans will own a smart phone by the end of the year as motivation for the app. The Army has also been working to equip all its soldiers with smartphones.
The app works alongside an Army-run Web site, Army Strong Stories that launched in January 2008 as a blog platform exclusively for soldiers. In May 2010, the site was open to all users, including civilians.
On the mobile site, users “share their own Army Strong story, post comments, and learn more about Army service and the breadth of careers available,” according to a press release from the U.S. Army Accessions Command.
Just like the website, the app isn’t restricted to soldiers. Any “U.S. Army supporter” can sign up through the Army Strong site.
The app joins a Twitter account, a YouTube Channel and Facebook and MySpace pages as part of the Army’s arsenal of social media recruiting tools.
The tool also signals, perhaps, a new frontier in the love-hate relationship the military has had with social media, seeing it as both a way to reach young recruits and a potential danger for troops in the field. Just last November, the U.S. Air Force issued a warning to troops about the dangers of using location-based sites like Foursquare and Facebook Places.
The “Army Strong Stories” app is available now and is designed to be compatible with iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android and webOS.