by Airman 1st Class Zachary Vucic
Air Force News Service
7/19/2013 - FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) -- Engaging
in social media can be a positive experience that entertains, keeps
people connected and allows opinions to be expressed on a wide variety
In some cases though, social media can ruin personal reputations or
careers, and create an open window for criminals to access personal
According to the Air Force's top social media expert, safe use of social-media outlets is simple -- use common sense.
Tanya Schusler is the chief of social media for the Air Force Public
Affairs Agency, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. She said in many
cases, problems arise when people are "too trusting" with their
personally identifiable information.
"It can be something as simple as sharing your location when visiting
your favorite store or restaurant," said Schusler. "This tells your
social network one critical piece of information -- you're not home."
To take full advantage of social media, and still post to Facebook and
tweet to friends safely, Schusler offered the following advice:
Many Airmen cause issues by posting photographs of themselves violating
appearance standards, acting inappropriately and most importantly,
violating operational security protocol. If you're not within
regulations, don't post it.
Airmen should not post information about deployments or photos of secure
areas within their workplace. Even if the Airman takes the information
down shortly after posting, someone has already seen it. The information
can be printed, screen captured, copied etc. Once information is
released to the internet, it's there permanently.
When posting personal opinions about Air Force topics, provide a
disclaimer stating the opinion as your own, and not that of the Air
Force. This can be done either as a disclaimer on a profile, or on each
individual post and will alleviate any potential confusion from
followers reading the post.
If an Airman posts a statement about hurting himself or others, time is
of the essence. Contact 911 if you know the location of the Airman. If
you do not know the person's location, contact the command post or your
supervisor for assistance in locating the Airman. It is important to
seek help for these individuals immediately.
Using certain security features within social media sites can help
mitigate some of the risk of personal information being shared. However,
privacy policies change almost daily, and Airmen may not know about the
updates. Therefore, do not rely on site security measures alone. Be
careful of whom you allow into your social media networks, and don't
trust that the account will always remain secure. Assume personal
Airmen's social-media pages are their personal space, and they are
encouraged to tell their personal Air Force stories through social
networks. They simply need to ensure the information they post is
cleared for release and within regulations. Don't jeopardize the mission
or put anyone's life, or lives in danger. Think before you post.
"We don't want Airmen to feel like they are stifled from sharing
information," Schusler said. "We just want to emphasize the use of
common sense to keep people safe."
If Airmen have questions about acceptable posting to social media, there
are resources available to them for guidance. AFPAA has published a new
booklet, the Air Force Social Media Guide, available for download here,
or at http://www.af.mil on the homepage under the social media icons.
Airmen can also contact their local public affairs office with questions