3 Reasons U.S. Marines Need Social Networking
Earlier this week, the United States Marine Corps announced an immediate ban on social networking services -- including Facebook, MySpace and the like -- for members of the Marines. Using those sites, as well as Twitter, poses a security threat, according to Brigadier General George Allen, director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers and chief information officer. But there are distinct advantages to using social networks: Here's why the few and the proud should lift the year-long ban.
1. Social networking gives soldiers a human face: Too often, the public (particularly those with no direct connection to men in uniform) sees soldiers in generic terms and not as individuals who, for example, like Transformers movies, have the Black Eyed Peas on their iPods and could go for a Quarter Pounder with cheese right about now.
2. Social networking lets families remain in contact: Reading a Tweet from a loved one stationed thousands of miles away is the 2009 way to reach out and touch someone. It stands to reason that this method of communication -- because it limits the numbers of characters users can type -- may be one the USMC can quickly figure out how to effectively filter.
3. Banning technology sends the wrong message: Not only does it imply we don't trust our soldiers not to give away important information, but it also says that we can't figure out how to filter that content before it gets published. It may be that the military should have looked at that before granting access to social networking sites. Now, it's faced with a PR disaster that makes the military look as though it is denying soldiers freedom of speech.
No one should want to compromise the safety of our soldiers or the security of our country. However, well thought-out technology solutions could provide the necessary protections. Needless to say, this is a situation that could have been more easily resolved if the Marines had not been granted access to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc., until a way to participate securely had been found. At this point, the cat is out of the bag; the USMC would do well to investigate the options, using the expertise of VARs specializing in security solutions. Comments