By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service
Oct. 6, 2009 - American Forces Press Service, the Defense Department's vehicle for news and feature content on the Defense.gov Web site, has unveiled a "widget" for photographs. The widget, available under the Widgets tab on Defense.gov, allows users to receive the latest Defense Department imagery in real time on their own Web sites or social networking pages by cutting and pasting one short line of code.
The widget appears as a 240-by-156-pixel graphic box -- about 3 by 4 inches – and cycles through at least eight photos. It is updated frequently throughout the day.
Linda Kozaryn, director of eProducts at the Defense Media Activity, said the widget allows for the sharing of the best imagery from the Defense Department, Defense Media Activity and other military assets stationed around the globe.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to immediately provide the latest imagery to our audiences," she said.
The widget is the latest example of the extension of innovative tools the press service has been adding in recent years to better disseminate the department's news. In June 2008, AFPS launched its first widget, allowing users to receive AFPS articles in real time. To date, the AFPS widget has been downloaded more than a million times.
In addition to widgets, AFPS also uses other social media tools such as Real Simple Syndication, or RSS, as well as a weekly podcast and a Facebook page. Users also can follow AFPS on Twitter. A blog called "Family Matters," dedicated to issues affecting military families, is another recent addition.
"We are trying these new social media tools to reach our audiences. We want to provide the latest Defense Department information on the sites they are visiting the most," Kozaryn said.
AFPS provides news and feature stories on the Defense Department's senior military and civilian leaders, policies and procedures, as well as military operations and humanitarian aid efforts. Seven AFPS writers cover the Pentagon and travel with the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior leaders on their visits to stateside bases and overseas.
(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg serves in the Defense Media Activity's emerging media directorate.)