I’m not quite sure how I came to find this document, but I’m glad I did. At first, we might assume that any social media policy/document coming out of a government institution let alone a military one would be strict and restrictive. Surprisingly, the US Marine Corps Social Media Handout is accessible, easy to read and to understand. It is simple and to the point, totally military style! If you can overview the military references to the code of conduct and other policies, the information presented in this document can be used as a base for a good number of different governmental departments, military or not. It is refreshing to see that an institution such as the Marines Corps is pro-active in educating their members on social media. This document is not about scaring or punishing the Marines; it is about letting them know what is out there and how to react to it. The writing style is a lot more positive than any other military publication I have ever read and it encourages Marines to get familiar with social media and use it in meaningful ways. After reading the handout, I had lots of ideas for my own social media platforms. I even introduced the document to my web content officer and started to discuss possibilities. He had never came across the handout so sharing it with him opened a new channel of communication about social media. During that discussion, he suggested a few other governmental venues for me to read about like GCpedia, if you are a public servant. It apparently has a good social media section.
By producing this introduction to social media document, the Marine Corps recognized that the social media trend is not going away. They took the necessary steps to prepare their members and they did not pretend social media did not exist which shows their willingness to live in the present and their commitment to be part of the future. The Marine Corps did not stay behind on the social media platform, it really jumped on board. Makes me think of the old saying: ‘ if you can’t beat them, join them.’ The Marine Corps sure did that and I’m convinced it is going to pay off.