4-Star Tweets

National Guard When I saw this article by Air Force General Craig McKinley (@ChiefNGB) about why he tweets, it got me thinking about military transparency. They are, after all, a huge part of the government — I should know, I grew up military, with a dad who’s still serving.

While I was visiting my parents over Thanksgiving, he was excited to show me a new recruiting video featuring some of his people, in a real-life scenario where they stop a piece of debris from colliding with a satellite. My dad doesn’t tweet, but the fact that he was excited about a video showing the real inner-workings of what we monitor in outer space suggested to me something beyond pride in his team. It dovetails with one of the reasons General McKinley gave for his tweeting habit:

“The young men and women joining the service today don’t know what the world looked like before Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter. They are transforming the way we do our work. As a leader, if I am not personally engaged in the communications evolution, then I cannot expect the organization to follow.”

Considering that national defense is the largest recipient of our tax dollars, I say it’s about time we got a little transparency. I also like General McKinley’s take on what some would say are the security issues involved when social media comes so close to classified information. He says this type of interaction with the public is necessary, and not going anywhere, so he tells the tech folks: “Figure it out … Some of the brightest minds in the country are focused on securing our networks and lowering this risk. I am confident they have the skills to both empower users and protect critical systems and data.”

Hopefully as change trickles down through the government, more people will begin identifying with McKinley’s school of thought. And maybe one day I’ll even see my dad on Twitter …

Alexis James is the managing moderator/editor at an online marketing startup, while maintaining her own social media clients via 10thFloorPR.com. When she's not submerged in the web up to her eyeballs, she creates, markets and sells her own line of eco-friendly pet clothing (EarthsBestFriend.com), and postulates about life, politics and religion on her blog, alexisinthecity.com. You can track her down via her blog, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.


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