Marines’ Social Media Handbook Helps Soldiers Connect with Civilians

A little over two years ago the Marines banned their personnel from using social media. That must have been tough for the service men and their families. Now, the military branch has released the handbook. It contains details on how social media should be used to bolster how U.S. Marines communicate on the Web.

If you have someone in your family or a close friend who is in the Marines or military, you might want to read this article on the recently released “The Social Corps.” It is a handbook for how Marines should apply social media to their lives, “engage in greater discussion as even better communicators and improved representatives of our Corps,” according to the handbook. By the way, the handbook is available for anyone to peruse.

A little over two years ago the Marines banned their personnel from using social media. That must have been tough for the service men and their families. Now, the military branch is open to social media under their terms via the handbook. It contains details on how social media should be used to improve how U.S. Marines communicate on the Web.

The handbook sets perimeters or core guiding principles for various behaviors and circumstances in which Marines will use social media sites. So they can behave properly, the handbook outlines personal behavior, professional behavior and setting up ground rules for fans, even using social media for crisis communication and others.

One section of the handbook is titled “Social media and family” while another one is titled “15 tips to stay safe and out of trouble online.”

You can study the “The Social Corps” yourself and see if any of the information is valuable to you even if you are not in the military service. I found the information on basic communications worthwhile to know. The handbook advises Marines to see what they say on the Web through the same eyes as their formal communication with fellow Marines. That is so true with anyone who communicates via social media. It is a good idea to be in the other fellow’s shoes when you are delivering a communication because you’ll have a good idea how they will respond. Another good one is “think before you post anything” — a universal rule.

“With social communication, you essentially provide a permanent record of what you say–if you wouldn’t say it in front of a formation, don’t say it online,” the handbook advises.

When it comes to crisis and using the Web, the handbook advises Marines to have a course of action ahead of time before a crisis occurs. So, they have the lines to the public smoothed and well greased for the dissemination of “most current, official Marine Corps updates to key audiences before a crisis hits so people know where to find you online, and trust the information they receive.”

The fact that the two years ago the Marines ordered a ban on social media is an interesting proposition of how social media has become a strong influence. Today they now have a handbook as a guide to keep the military branch free from unnecessary problems caused by misuse of the media.

Marines are now very active in the social media arena with dedicated Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Flicker pages. Also included is a Marine Corps blog where the military branch shares both personal and professional stories and some news.