U.S. Navy Media Blog

Sharing the latest in digital media trends, tools, and techniques to promote continuous knowledge sharing and innovation among Navy communicators across the globe. How are you telling the Navy's story?
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joe Bishop
Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

The other day I was rummaging through a drawer and I found an old Scientific American magazine.

The article that caught my attention, entitled ‘Let Your Creativity Soar’, was a discussion on ways to tap into your creative self.One expert explained that with the right tools anyone can become creative.

According to Robert Epstein, senior research psychologists at the American Institute for Behavioral Research, there are four ‘core competencies’ of creative expression. He said, to be creative, people need to preserve their new ideas (capturing), surround themselves with interesting people and environments (surroundings), tackle tough problems (challenging), and expand their knowledge (broadening).

I thought about how the Navy provides opportunities to meet these four competencies. Creativity, I decided, can be cultivated in the Navy if we just take advantage of the tools at our disposal.

As a Mass Communication Specialist (MC),it’s my job to tell the Navy’s story. Capturing moments and personalities of our fellow Sailors is my trade. But MC’s aren’t the only ones documenting their experience. These days Sailors from all sorts of departments have cameras and plans to document their deployments. While I’m photographing ship events, it’s not uncommon to get into conversations with other Sailors who are photography or film aficionados.

Our surroundings are full of people from all over the world, each with their own interesting history and culture. I work with Sailors from Mississippi to Lebanon (the country) and everywhere in between. And these are just the people in my shop. On deployment,foreign ports have exposed me to new environments all over the world. As Sailors we also experience ship life, which uncovers all the different types of work needed to run a floating city.

Whether on a ship or not, life as a Sailor is full of challenges. Over and above the necessary work, there areso many more jobs I can tackle. If my regular duty is just not posing the needed challenges, there are always collateral duties.

The Navy also offers ways to broaden my knowledge. Not only do I learn from all my diverse shipmates, but I alsolearn how to be a Sailor and what it’s like to be in a giant organization. Being in the military itself teaches me about the culture and customs of the armed forces.

If I look at the Navy with Mr. Epstein’s criteria for creativity in mind, I see that my time as a Sailor is a unique opportunity to expand my creative self. I think the same is true for any Sailor. And to set this all in motion, we just have to go out, meet people and work.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
Director, Social and Emerging Media
U.S. Navy Office of Information

Facebook has announced an update to News Feed ranking.

Here are four things that you need to know:

  • News Feed ranking looks at two new factors to determine if a story is more important than other types of updates.
  • The new factors are trending topics and when people like or comment.
  • Facebook will roll out the changes gradually.
  • The social network does not expect posts to see significant changes in distribution.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Social Media Team at 703-614-9154 or socialmedia@navy.mil.

By Khanh Hong
Social and Emerging Media
U.S. Navy Office of Information

Greetings to all! I’m the newest addition to the U.S. Navy CHINFO OI-2 team and specialize in graphic design to help the CHINFO Navy Media Content Services team create infographics and other supporting graphics for CHINFO’s social media platforms. I am also excited to assist in providing the Navy’s public affairs community training and guidance in graphic design and multimedia topics. If you have any specific questions about a design topic, feel free to send them my way! Who knows, I may answer your questions in the next blog post!

What is graphic design?
Graphic design is the art of visualizing ideas. As communicators, graphic design is everywhere; touching everything we do, everything we see, and everything we buy. We see it all, from street signs to directions on a package. It is represented in the famous McDonald’s arch logo and the monochromatic front page of the Wall Street Journal. It is diverse in all forms of media from posters, websites, to commercials on TV. Ultimately, it is a form of visual communication with the initial objective of communicating and conveying an idea through visual and typographic elements.

Graphic designers specialize in construction and organization of visual information to aid communication and message delivery. The graphic design process is a problem-solving system that requires substantial creativity, innovation and technical expertise. One must have an understanding of a client’s product or service and goals, their competitors and the key public. This all translates to a visual solution created from the manipulation, combination and utilization of shape, color, imagery, typography and space.

So how can the Navy use graphic design more effectively? As communicators, we are so used to crafting words to fit our narrative and tell the Navy story, but have you and your team ever used visual means to tell your story? It’s no wonder why infographics and memes are so popular, people want to receive their information visually and it’s up to Navy communicators to create a visual narrative that aligns with our written narrative

Tools and resources to help your team become more visual.
The best way to learn and understand more about the world of graphic design is to use the Internet! It’s quite understandable that some of you may not have substantial access to these resources while shipboard, but here are some helpful tools and resources that can help you develop your graphic skills.

  • Behance is a website to discover creative work and showcase your own. This is a resource to find inspiration and see what design trends are emerging. You can view work from different creative fields, from branding and web design, to fashion and industrial design. 
  • DaFont is a resource for typography. Instead of going for the regular Arial or Helvetica typeface, search through an abundant collection of different typefaces. Typefaces range in different styles and occasions, making it easy to find the perfect font for your design work. You can type in custom text to preview how the typeface will look like in various styles and sizes. The best part – it’s free! Just download the font and install it to your computer, and voila – you can use the typeface in any program, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite.
  • YeahPS is a tumblr blog filled with design resources, submitted by designers. You can find PSD (Photoshop) files for photo editing, along with a collection of textures, brushes, and fonts. There’s also a list of tutorials, if you ever need to learn how to do a certain design technique. All resources listed on this blog are also free to use.
  • PSD Tuts has some of the best tutorials on the web. You can learn any technique, ranging from illustration to design concepts. All tutorials have step-by-step instructions with images to explain the technique. Many of the tutorials have files that you can download, so you can practice the technique before applying it to your own work.
  • Blue Vertigo is your one stop for all stock resources on the Internet. You can find free stock images based on specialty and media type. 

This is just a short list of my most helpful resources that I visit every day. There are many more books and websites that you can find to educate yourself more about the process of graphic design. Always remember to stay current with the latest trends because art and visual communication is an ever-changing topic. Don’t be afraid to try new styles and experiment with different elements. Who knows? You may end up discovering a new design style!

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Social Media Team at 703-614-9154 or socialmedia@navy.mil.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
Director, Social and Emerging Media
U.S. Navy Office of Information

Every good social media post should have a call to action - the more obvious and the more specific the better.

Now, Facebook is making it easier to do more than just share a video. Facebook Page administrators now have a new option when uploading a video to their Page - the “Call to Action.”

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The optional feature appears after selecting a video to upload. Page administrators can select what a link referral button says such as :

  • Shop Now
  • Book Now
  • Learn More
  • Sign Up
  • Download
  • Watch More

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The “Call to Action” button appears at the end of a Facebook video.

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By Lt. Greg Raelson
Deputy Director, Social and Emerging Media
U.S. Navy Office of Information

Sometimes certain external professional education and training opportunities are hard to come by in the Navy. Whether it’s finding the time during a busy work schedule or deployment cycle, or getting approval for funding, it can be a challenge to say the least. That being said, when the opportunity presents itself, and all the stars align, the extra professional development is a win for both the Navy and the individual.

I was lucky enough to find one such opportunity while attending a series of social media lectures for government agencies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. During one of the breaks, perusing the many flyers on the bulletin boards, I noticed that Georgetown was offering a certification program in Social Media Management. The course was starting in a mere few weeks, and I needed to conduct some research into what the program was about to see if it would contribute to my skill-set and benefit the Navy to have me attend.

After some web research and phone conversations with the program adviser, I determined that this program would be a good fit for my current position as the U.S. Navy Office of Information’s Deputy Director of Social and Emerging Media. Not only would it provide a good foundation for managing a social media team at the corporate or military headquarters level, it would also teach the skills necessary for a military public affairs officer to “talk the talk, and walk the walk” with civilian social media colleagues who have a heavier academic and professional background in social media specifically. 

After selling the benefit of the program to leadership, sorting the funding, and registering, I began the program a week later. Overall, it delivered what it had promised. Taught over a two-week period, the courses varied between on-campus and online sessions with adjunct faculty from a variety of backgrounds. One professor was an executive at a DC-based public relations firm, another was the Communications Director for the Government Accountability Office, another was a full-time professor of marketing at Georgetown, and another was the former Social Media Director for the U.S. Army and now at National Public Radio. All seasoned public affairs or communications professionals who each presented their own unique perspectives to the various problems the students might encounter in their own social media managerial positions.

We learned the basics of how to use social media tools effectively and write accordingly for each of the major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc), and we examined different strategies and tactics for each. We also took a deep dive into the exciting world of metrics and analytics, determining what types of software and online programs are best suited for analyzing specific communication objectives. Perhaps most importantly, however, was the capstone communication planning course which emphasized the significance of step-by-step planning for any social media campaign. Using somewhat of an “RPIE” approach (Research, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation - something we are all familiar with in the military), this portion of the program highlighted how to choose objectives for your campaign in alignment with the organization’s communication goals, and determine how to best interact with audiences and use messaging effectively.

Completing the course and earning the certification from Georgetown not only adds to the professional credibility of any public affairs officer serving in my position on the Navy’s social media team in the future, but it also serves as an example for how education and training opportunities can present themselves at unexpected times and sometimes unconventional places. I would remind public affairs officers across the Fleet to keep their eyes and ears open and when they see an opportunity for either themselves or a member of their team, to take a look at the cost-to-benefit ratio and bring it up with their command. Investing in our people with outside-the-military training and education is a win-win and contributes to the Navy public affairs team continuing to shine as the most prominent and professional military communications force out there.

By MC1 Gabrielle Blake
U.S. Navy Social Media 

The U.S. Navy launched its Instagram account almost one year ago. During this time, we’ve been experimenting with our content and strategy. The Navys Social Media Team wants to share what weve learned so far.

What does Instagram do for us?

We can’t just post photos all day on our other social media platforms because they focus a lot more heavily on sharing the Navy’s message to the American public. Instagram really allows us to focus on our most engaging imagery and showcase photos that are overlooked or may not be seen because we have buried them in Navy.mil or somewhere else. Instagram provides an opportunity to showcase something we have an abundance of in so many ways.


What has our growth looked like? How many times per day/week do we post to Instagram?

A lot of our growth has been organic, within the platform itself. Our original fan base was gained solely through the use of hashtags and people tagging their friends or directly searching for us. We have shared the Instagram account on Facebook and asked our fans to go to http://www.navy.mil and post their favorites pictures so we can use one on Instagram.

Since we still consider our Instagram to be in the beginning phases, we are still testing the frequency of posting, time of day that works best, and the types of photos our fans like. We have slowly increased from posting once or twice a week to posting every other day.

Since we have increased the number of posts per week, our monthly fan increase has doubled. We started the Instagram August 2013. Since I assumed responsibility for it in February, it has grown to approximately 32,000 fans with a steady increase of 2,500 each month.


What are some of the downsides to Instagram?

Instagram can be accessed from the computer, but mainly just for monitoring and commenting. As of right now, photos can only be posted from a mobile device; it can be an issue in a location with no reception or Wi-Fi capabilities.

Instagram crops all photos to 1x1; there are a lot of great photos we can’t use because the content is lost. Also, one of the main industry appeals is adding filters, but due to Department of Defense regulation against photo manipulation (DoD Instruction 5040.02), we cannot. We share photos with #NoFilter.

Are the followers and interactions on Instagram worth the time we put in to it?

Our interaction is very different in comparison to Twitter and we reach a very different audience on our Instagram account. We get a lot more interaction and conversations between our Instagram fans. Since the beginning of 2014, we’ve been getting between 2,000 and 3,500 likes on our photos. We get anywhere from 15 to 65 comments on each post and I have seen conversations about the weapons systems, the aircraft, the ships, etc. We do #ThrowbackThursday posts and more recently, #TriviaTuesday posts that tends to generate more comments than normal.

Our followers also tend to be pretty passionate about the Navy and we see conversations about different topics. Because we are building a presence, we try to answer as many fan questions as possible – that can be a little time consuming, but is essential when trying to increase our reach and engagement on a new platform.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Social Media Team at 703-614-9154 or socialmedia@navy.mil.

by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Eric J. Harrison, OIC, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. Northwest

“Hey, Senior. It’s LT Raelson from CHINFO. How are you doing today?”

Most times when I get a call out of the blue like that, it raises a flag or two and makes one of my eyebrows arch. Uh oh. Three words pop into my head as a warning: Good Idea Fairy. Chiefs, and all Sailors for that matter, can be funny that way.

“What can I do for you, Sir?” I’m a team player, after all. Mr. Raelson asked if I knew that the famed Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was taking place in five days and asked if I’d be willing to do some pre-race work along with the race organizers to work up a Navy tie and then assign a shooter to cover the event and focus on the Sailors who may be running in the race. That, of course, is the hard part.

“Yes, Sir, I sure do. In fact, I have a Sailor assigned to shoot the Navy Band already. They’re one of the bands playing along the route to get the runners pumped. What do you have in mind?” After working through some of the details and deciding what the end state might look like, we embarked on a plan to get as much organic and external coverage of Navy Sailors running in one of the largest long-distance events in the country.

Alas, as the Officer in Charge of the NPASE Detachment in the Pacific Northwest, I have exactly nine Sailors under my charge, spread out between Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and Naval Station Everett.

The trick, of course, would be to engage the major players in the region to find the Sailors who would be running that Saturday, mixed with a little luck to find some who would be willing to share their stories. I rang the bell, and luckily, I got some great responses from commands, including Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) and, of course, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), among others. Doug Stutz, NHB PAO and seasoned long distance runner, responded right away with the story of a Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman who would be running, and had only recently put together a run for the crew at the hospital to honor those who were deployed worldwide. A few others trickled in, until finally, the Stennis Media team jumped right in with a handful of Sailors who were ready to both run the race, and to offer up their images and stories to the cause. Ensign Josh Kelsey, Stennis Media’s division officer, engaged their team to shoot studio imagery of the Sailors and get quick sound-bite style quotes to go along with them. LT Raelson’s social media contact at Competitor Group (the organizers of the marathon series) even posted these Sailors’ stories on their “Rock Blog.”  We were on our way to getting this done!

Often, in our quest to tell the stories of our Sailors and the Navy, it’s easy to get caught up in the flow of our busy schedules, and resort to tried and true journalism: an event is happening, we assign a Sailor to write a story and shoot photos, we publish in whatever outlet we have, and that’s it. Less often, we prime the pump and produce content in advance of a story like this and gain some momentum and coverage beforehand to maximize the effort and distribution of the story. This impressed me. But not nearly as much as what happened next.

The day of the race, young MC3 Will Blees was on scene bright and early to cover the event from as many aspects as he was able. This included trying to find the Sailors from the carrier Stennis, whom he had never met in person, and capture imagery of them running the race, and then after they crossed the finish line. The U.S. Navy’s Junior Mass Communication Specialist of the Year was all over it and knocked it out with ease. Within two hours of the conclusion of the race, he had the images edited, the captions written and had sent them along to me for review and release to Navy Media Content Services, the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, and to the social media team at CHINFO, which is led by Mr. Jason Kelly. Soon thereafter, the content was being spread out through several media outlets, on both a local level and a Navy-wide level.

It was immediately posted on the Navy Region Northwest News site, from where it was shared by the region Facebook and Twitter feeds, and the Stennis Facebook page, where it got 250 likes and 14 shares, adding to the 677 unique views on the region WordPress post. As soon as the story and images got to Jason Kelly and his team, they tweeted out our involvement in the race, which provided a huge level of coverage.

In the end, the biggest takeaways I got from the event coverage:

  • Think ahead and coordinate. Get out in front of it with content to front load what’s going to be happening, when possible. Having the Stennis Media team and NHB help gather the participants and produce content was absolutely vital in telling this story and gaining momentum BEFORE the actual event even happened.
  • Think Local; Act Big Navy. And vice versa. This has always been my concept of operations, from the time I joined the PA community in 2002. My very first PAO, CDR Scott Miller, and my first Chief, Master Chief Melissa Weatherspoon ingrained that concept in my head from the very beginning, and it has proven itself effective communication time and time again. And it worked here, of course.
  • Multi-pronged distribution. This was clearly a key to the success in coverage with the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, and the participation by our Sailors. LT Raelson had it right from the beginning, and it worked perfectly. PLAN to use different outlets, across different commands (when possible) to help to distribute content to your audiences. In this case, we had the robust Stennis Facebook page (40,000+ fans,) and of course, the inherently well-liked and followed @usnavy Twitter feed. On top of that, the coordination with the organization that put on the event itself was the kicker. Well thought out, and well executed.
  • Smash Paradigms. In our line of work it can be easy to fall into the trap of being risk-averse and to paint by the numbers. We grow suspicious of ‘good ideas’. However, the media world in which we are operating these days doesn’t follow many of the rules a lot of us were taught in the years leading up it. The ‘paradigms’ we have set for ourselves through the many years of doing what we do, more and more, need to be smashed in order to keep up in this new media environment. Keep an open mind, and listen to any and all ideas that come your way, from the most junior MC or PAO out of DINFOS, to the most senior chiefs and officers. What may appear to be a Good Idea Fairy may actually be a hammer-wielding paradigm smasher. Go with it, and give it a chance. I’m very happy and more than satisfied with the way this event coverage turned out, thanks to the many expert folks who had a hand in it, and led by LT Raelson’s excellent idea and direction.

By Navy Social Media Team

Operations security (OPSEC) should be maintained online just as it is offline. OPSEC violations commonly occur when personnel share information with people they do not know well or are unaware of loose privacy settings. Focus on communicating these four key tips with Sailors and personnel to avoid OPSEC violations at your command. 

  1. Protect your families by limiting the amount and type of information you post about family members such as names, addresses, local towns or, schools.
  2. Understand each of your social network’s security settings so you can make informed decisions about who is and is not able to view your information and/or photos.
  3. Keep classified and sensitive information safe by not discussing critical information such as ship movements, deployments, personnel rosters, and weapons information.
  4. If you hesitate when deciding whether you should share information, don’t post it online! If you or another person identifies a potential OPSEC breech, document and remove it as soon as possible.

Many times, OPSEC breeches are a result of error or ignorance, so it’s important to communicate with the individual who posted the information to inform him/her of the violation. Work with your public affairs officer and ombudsman to further communicate OPSEC guidelines with sailors and their families.

OPSEC Checklist

Take the following steps to avoid OPSEC breeches at your command.

  1. Identify personnel authorized to post content to social media sites and ensure they are the only individuals with access to those sites.
  2. Establish local procedures to ensure that all information posted on social media is releasable.
  3. Ensure all information posted is in accordance with local public affairs guidance and Navy Public Affairs Regulations.
  4. Monitor your command’s social media sites for posts that violate OPSEC and if there is a violation, remove the information.
  5. Conduct periodic training with Sailors and families on appropriate versus inappropriate social media behavior.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Social Media Team at 703-614-9154 or socialmedia@navy.mil.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

Get ready for changes to your Facebook Page.

Facebook says it is rolling out “a streamlined look for Pages on desktop that will make it easier for people to find the information they want and help Page admins find the tools they use most.”

Changes include:

  • Updated Page timeline design. Page posts now appear on the right column of the timeline. Facebook says the design allows posts to appear consistently on Pages and Newsfeed. Organizational information, photos and videos now appear on the left column of the timeline.
  • Admin tools. Pages to Watch allows Page admins to create a list of Pages similar to their own and compare the Pages’ performance.

Before:

After:

Want to learn more about the changes? Facebook has put together a list of frequently asked questions about the changes.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Emerging Media Team at 703-614-9154 or socialmedia@navy.mil.


By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

Your new Twitter profile is here – if you are ready for it.

For now, you need to opt-in to the design.

Before…

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After…

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These are the six things you need to know to get ready:

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  1. Profile photo: The recommended size is 400x400 pixels. The image is automatically resized to fit. Twitter recommends uploading a GIF or PNG for vector-based and line art images, and uploading a JPG or PNG for photo-based images (raster images).
  2. Header photo: Upload a prominent header image; the background image will no longer display on your profile page. The recommended header photo size is 1500x500 pixels. The image is automatically resized to fit and cropped to a 2:1 aspect ratio on mobile.
  3. Bio: Your bio is limited to 160 characters and displayed on your profile header under your name and username. For official Twitter accounts, be sure to use the Navy social media disclaimer.
  4. Pinned Tweet: Highlight your best content at the top of your profile timeline. Click on the “more” option on the Tweet you want to pin and select “Pin to your profile page.”
  5. Tweet previews: Photo and player Cards appear directly on your profile, and Vine videos automatically play.
  6. Best Tweets highlighted: Tweets that get people talking are bigger in size.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Emerging Media Team at 703-614-9154 or usnsocialmedia@gmail.com.

By Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs 

The U.S. Naval War College Library in Newport, R.I. on Feb. 24, 2014 unveiled online the 4,000-page “Gray Book” collection of Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz' communications beginning in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack and running up until the closing days of the war. The event, produced by the Naval War College and carried live on the Navy Live Blog, was the culmination of an extensive communication plan requiring the efforts of commands around the world.

Although every public engagement is different, they all offer opportunities to learn from what went well, and what might have been done differently.  Following the engagement, we worked with the half dozen commands involved to put together this comprehensive review of the entire process.  We thought we’d share our experience with you.  Please let us know what you think!

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

Expect a new look for your Twitter profile.

Twitter announced a new profile design Tuesday that it says will make it “even easier … to express yourself through a new and improved web profile.”

The Facebook Page-like profile allows the use of a larger profile picture and header photo as well as:

  • Best Tweets: Tweets with more engagement appear slightly larger.
  • Pinned Tweet: Pin a tweet to the top of your page.
  • Filtered Tweets: Select which timeline to view on other users’ profiles – Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos, Tweets and replies.

Right now, the new profile is available to a small group of users, including new users. Twitter says it will roll out the new features to everyone over the coming weeks.

How should you prepare for the transition? Stay tuned for more information.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Emerging Media Team at 703-614-9154 or usnsocialmedia@gmail.com.

By Sandy Gall
U.S. Navy Emerging Media

Responding to fan questions and comments is one of the most challenging, rewarding and important jobs for a social media manager like me. Finding the right words, staying on message and the sheer volume of comments can make the task daunting. But the best social media managers don’t shy away because they know that managing a social media site like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is more than simply posting great content – it’s about the engagement – the two-way conversations – this is what makes social media such a powerful communication medium.

As managers of the Navy’s social media accounts, sometimes a reader’s post draws special attention. When a fan leaves a comment reporting a sexual assault, as community managers, we must respond – and we must ensure this person understands where to go for help.

Whether you are in a leadership position or not, if a shipmate of yours reported a sexual assault while you were on deployment, you would respond and you would begin the standardized Navy process necessary to get your shipmate the assistance they need. The same standards apply for social media managers, except, we can’t directly see to it that our shipmate goes to medical. However, we can standardize our responses in an effort to make sure each person reporting sexual assault is directed to the correct and most useful resources to ensure every Sailor and every victim who reports sexual assault is treated with dignity, respect, and professionalism they deserve.

As you can imagine, the US Navy Facebook page receives a lot of fan comments and inbox messages. We try to read and respond to as many possible, but we make it a point to respond to all reports of sexual assault. Victim response is critical and victim reporting is vital. When a Sailor or Navy family member reports an incident via your social media pages, it is your duty to direct them to the right resources.

When responding to a report of sexual assault on your command social media platform take the following steps:

Once you have responded to and provided resources to the victim, record the incident in your internal records. It is critical for the investigation to ensure that all records of reporting are on file. US Navy’s emerging media team has a password protected file where we keep screen shots of the report and our response.

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Sexual assault is a serious crime and the Navy is committed to eliminating it within our ranks. Sexual assault prevention and response is an all hands effort; we – as social media managers –  can do our part by directing people to the services at their disposal.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154. 

Editor’s note: Additional blogs about sexual assault prevention and response are available on Navy Live blogs at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2013/12/18/navy-sexual-assault-prevention-improve-victim-response/ and http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2014/01/15/creating-a-command-climate-intolerant-of-sexual-assault/

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

What is Twitter?   

Twitter describes itself as “a social broadcast network that helps you create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.”   

How long is a tweet? 

Tweets are limited to 140 characters, but  you shouldn’t use all of them. Save at least 20 characters to allow people to retweet or comment. 

What makes Twitter different? 

Twitter is real-time. People share news, events and conversations that are relevant as they’re happening.

What are some common Twitter terms? 

  • Mention (@): Bring a tweet to someone’s  attention by using their username.  If you want to start a tweet with someone’s  username and want all of your followers to  see it, put a period before the username.  Otherwise, only users who follow both you  and the other person will see it. 
  • Retweet (RT): Share a tweet with all of your followers. 
  • Modified tweet (MT): Manually retweet  a message with modifications such  as shortening a tweet. If you think of retweeting as quoting, a modified tweet is paraphrasing. 
  • Hashtag: The # symbol, called a hashtag, marks keywords or topics in a tweet. The use of excessive #hashtags #looks #bad and is a #common #mistake. Try to use no more than two hashtags per tweet and hashtag with a purpose. Frequently used @USNavy hashtags are #USNavy, #Breaking, #NavySAPR, #PartnershipsMatter, #PresenceMatters, #PeopleMatter and  #PowerMatters. Hashtags also are supported on Facebook  and Google+. 
  • Direct message (DM): A private message that only you and the recipient can see. 
  • Follow: Subscribe to someone’s tweets in your timeline.

Should you link your Facebook page to your Twitter account and automatically post from Facebook to Twitter?

No, this is a common mistake that prevents  the Navy Emerging Media Team from using these tweets because of the following reasons: 

  • Facebook posts that are automatically shared on Twitter are frequently truncated   since they are often longer than 140 characters.
  • Twitter uses unique terms as above explained. 
  • Social networks attract different users.  Some content may be more appealing to one network’s audience than another audience. For example, news articles on the Navy’s Twitter account usually receive more user engagement than on the Navy’s Facebook page.

Take the time to understand the similarities and differences between your audience on each social network. If you take the time to properly use Twitter, you’ll see more engagement and a greater return on investment. 

Is Twitter right for every command? 

No, but it is definitely worth considering.   If your unit or command isn’t on Twitter, you’re likely missing an opportunity to reach your audience. 

What should I do to get started? 

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, create a personal account and use it until you become comfortable with Twitter. When you are ready to use it as a command   or unit, review the Navy’s social media registration checklist at www.Navy.mil/media/smrChecklist.pdf, create your unit’s Twitter account and register it at www.Navy.mil/CommandDirectory.asp

You may be surprised how you can reach more people by saying less – in no more than 140 characters.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154.