by By Senior Airman Aubrey White
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
3/12/2014 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- A
multitude of social media platforms has made sharing every aspect of
life easy, immediate and permanent. Because of this, and the rate
information spreads through the internet, U.S. military members must
ensure to think before they post.
Leaders at Joint Base Langley-Eustis have made it a point to inform U.S.
Air Force Airmen and U.S. Army Soldiers of the consequences of
unprofessional online behavior and encourage them to practice
respectable social media etiquette.
"[Unprofessional online behavior] can affect morale, good order and
discipline," said Senior Master Sgt. Joshua Tidwell, 633rd Medical Group
first sergeant. "On a national scale, it could affect the public's
opinion and that of Congressional leaders."
Recent posts by U.S. Service members on Facebook and Instagram have
caused a flurry of negative attention. These social media missteps
highlight the importance of upholding the military's values and image.
"As Service members, you represent the entire military," said U.S. Air
Force Staff Sgt. Jervina Johnson, 633rd Comptroller Squadron financial
services supervisor and security manager. "If you post something [on a
social media site] that is inappropriate, it is going to be seen as a
reflection of the entire military."
Although a photo, video or status update may have been posted months or
years ago, the ability of cell phones to capture and upload photos means
what was shot a year ago is just as accessible as what was shot a
minute ago. If content is dishonorable to the military and brought to
the attention of a Service member's unit, it may result in disciplinary
"Whatever you share on social media is permanent," Johnson said. "If you
do not want the world to know, then you should not post it. Something
posted five years ago can resurface at any time, even if it was just a
'younger, dumber you.'"
Some Service members may use social media sites as a means of venting
frustration. Members must remember they may be held liable if their
statements defy the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including: Article
88, Contempt toward officials, Article 89, Disrespect toward superior
commissioned officer, and Article 91, Insubordinate conduct toward a
warrant officer, noncommissioned officer or petty officer; among others.
"Social media can be a tremendous asset or a tremendous vulnerability,
depending on the quality of discretion employed by the users," Tidwell
said. "Before posting something, think, 'Would my base commander approve
of this post if it made it onto [a television channel]?'"
The following lists include useful social media tips provided by the
U.S. Army Social Media Handbook and the Air Force Social Media Guide:
What not to post
- Classified information
- Specific unit movement information
- If and when a family is going on vacation or leaving the house vacant
- Gossip and anything that may be considered offensive
- Any information that would infringe upon the personal rights of others
- Information concerning personnel missing or killed in action prior to release by DOD
- Anything that would discredit the Armed Forces
Good items to post
- Pride and support for service, units, specialties and other Service members
- General statements about service or duty
- Corrections to misrepresentations made about the military - remember to do so respectfully and accurately
For more information about social media etiquette, visit
www.af.mil/Portals/1/documents/SocialMediaGuide2013.pdf for the Air
Force Social Media Guide.