U.S. Military Opens the Door to Social Media Use by Active Duty Personnel

Posted by Kathleen Smith Launches a New Social Media Platform Designed Exclusively for US Military and Supporters; The First of its Kind

Recent policy changes by the US Department of Defense, (DOD), provide a new approach to the use of social media by military personnel. Announced in early 2010, the DOD, now approves and, in fact, encourages the use of social media by rank and file military.

Why this significant change? Former Special Operations soldier, with three tours to Iraq under his belt, David Johnson believes the policy change is long overdue. He states, “The stress experienced by the military is extreme, both on the battlefield and even in transitioning to civilian life.” In an effort to provide assistance and support to current and past military, and family members Johnson has founded the first of its kind — a social media website exclusively designed for US Military and supporters called

The numbers are significant. There are approximately 2.3 million members of the Armed Forces and over 24 million veterans in the U.S. Considering these numbers, the ability of service members to connect with friends and like-minded individuals has been limited…until now.

The Department of Defense policy change acknowledges the advantage to those serving and maintaining connections with family, friends and peers. Technology allows a movement across the web, and the government believes that it is psychological desirable for personnel to maintain contact. A step further, the DOD policy allows users to access social media from non-classified government computers, as long as there is no compromise to operational security or use of prohibited sites.

A subtext of this policy change, according to David Johnson, founder of, is the stress military personnel undergo when returning from a tour of duty or transitioning to civilian life. “The reality is that it is not always the happy homecoming one would expect,” says Johnson.

The Veterans Administration has studied the psychological issues extensively. According to a recent study, “Evidence suggests that returning to work with one’s cohort group during wartime can facilitate the improvement of symptoms from stress. Although their wishes may or may not be granted, service members often have strong feelings about wanting or not wanting to return to war.”

S.A. Yerkes, & H.C. Holloway, in their article, “War and homecomings: The stressors of war and of returning from war,” state that, “The deployment of the family member creates a painful void within the family system that is eventually filled (or denied) so that life can go on…The family assumes that their experiences at home and the soldier’s activities on the battlefield will be easily assimilated by each other at the time of reunion and that the pre-war roles will be resumed. The fact that new roles and responsibilities may not be given up quickly upon homecoming is not anticipated.”

There are some personal difficulties that reach a state of psychological concern, such as (PTSD) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For many, the transition is less severe; however, it is still a concern. For example, David Johnson found that on separation from active duty he missed the structure the army provided, even though he had served in a fluid and volatile environment in Iraq. As he attended college after leaving the service, he confronted the desire to reenlist due to the military environment he was missing. After discussing his feelings with several former soldiers, he began to research ways to reach out to others. He spent time investigating the use of Facebook and other social mediums as a platform for his ideas. Johnson discovered that nothing was specifically designed for interactive use for the military in which he shared common interests and concerns.

Then, he decided to take a new approach with a site custom designed to provide the level of support and connectivity he believed was needed. The site has been beta tested at a local level with an overwhelmingly positive response. He is now rolling out the site for worldwide use. Local Phoenix shows, Good Morning Arizona and Channel 3 have interviewed Johnson and featured the breakthrough in Social Media twice in the past month.

According to Johnson, “We have built what we believe is a true social support system for current military personnel and vets. We offer a discussion forum, a bulletin board for posting events along with wants and needs, also the ability to form special groups, post information to help with relevant issues, a proprietary ISU – Installation Update Specific section and more.” ArmedZilla has a team of talented people ready to develop new applications as they receive feedback from our “member community.” fills an important gap. It not only allows friends and family to keep in touch, but it is a social support system that can be fulfilled by those who have the same experience and Military background.

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 03, 2010 3:30 pm

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