A commenter here once expressed shock and disgust that KJAM's Matt Hendrickson and I would be using Facebook. What does a grown man need to be Facebook for? the commenter asked oh so ominously.
Well, that commenter can now turn her ire to Uncle Sam: the Pentagon just announced Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of Web 2.0 are cool:
The Pentagon announced on Friday it has authorized the use Twitter, Facebook and other so-called "Web 2.0" sites across the U.S. military, saying the benefits of social media outweighed security concerns.
..."The purpose of the policy is to recognize that we need to take advantage of these Internet-based capabilities. These Web 2.0 tools need to be part of what we use," David Wennergren, a deputy assistant secretary of defense, told Reuters.
"And what we had were inconsistent approaches. Some websites were blocked and some commands were blocking things."
Social media are increasingly important for the U.S. military. Admiral Mike Mullen, who as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the top U.S. military officer, has a Twitter feed with more than 16,000 followers.
U.S. Southern Command offered operational updates via Twitter on relief activities in Haiti [Phil Stewart, "Military Allows Twitter, Other Social Media," Reuters, 2010.02.27].
Even the U.S. military recognizes that openness and interactivity have their advantages.
Web Bonus! Check out this good article from Reporters without Borders discussing the global conflict between free access to information and government control of the Internet. South Dakota's attempted Blog Control Acts didn't make the story, but stay tuned for next year....