Source: DTN News / WASHINGTON (AFNS)
(NSI News Source Info) WASHINGTON, U.S. - August 5, 2010: The official United States Air Force Facebook page reached new heights over the Aug. 1 weekend when the number of fans who "like" the page topped 100,000. The page went live in mid-2009 as a way to share the latest Air Force news and to network with current Airmen, veterans, family members, potential recruits and the Air Force enthusiasts.
"Having a large fan base is nice, but the real accomplishment is the interaction of the community," said Paul F. Bove, social media strategist for the Air Force. "Numbers don't mean anything if people aren't active. Luckily, we have a great group of fans who ask questions, share stories and express their support for the Air Force and all the service members who serve."
Many of the posts on the page involve young adults in the process of joining the service, or those expressing interest on how to join.
"In an ideal world, we'd have a team of Airmen to help answer all the questions that people pose, but monitoring Facebook 24/7 isn't realistic. Instead, our community members, who perhaps served or serve in the Air Force, help answer questions," said Mr. Bove. "We check out the information and help with further details if necessary or to correct erroneous facts. It's the same thing on all our social media channels, whether YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, it's the community that makes them worthwhile."
Even senior leaders and their spouses recognize the power of Facebook. Recently, Mrs. Suzie Schwartz, the wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, went live with her own page geared toward communicating with Air Force families.
Mrs. Schwartz said she decided to take the plunge after getting feedback that today's Airmen and families are relying more and more on digital communication.
"I have been thinking about this for a long time," she said. "I hope to use this as an information tool for Air Force spouses."
Her welcome message on the page encourages fans to "use this forum to communicate and meet other spouses on your base and around the world."
This type of networking is one of the reasons Air Force leaders recently authorized Facebook access on government computers at most military locations. Those without access are encouraged to stay connected from their personal computers.
To view the Air Force Facebook page, click the F (Facebook) icon in the lower right corner of the AF.Mil home page under the social media banner.