In just a few short years, Facebook has changed EVERYTHING. We now have access to instant communication with whoever we choose in just about every country worldwide. We can share our personal life, problems at work, and connect with long lost friends. While Facebook is an amazing social media platform, I’ve read many cases where Soldiers get themselves in trouble because of what they post on Facebook.
Therefore, I want to share some Facebook Tips for ARNG, USAR and Army personnel. I want to share some things you should/shouldn’t do on Facebook so you don’t get yourself in trouble with the military. Please keep in mind that these tips are just my personal opinion.
# 1 Never write anything you will regret
This is my first piece of advice. Don’t make the mistake of ever writing anything that you could regret later on. If you’re upset at the world, cool down before you log on to Facebook. If you think your boss is an idiot, don’t write it on Facebook. Don’t write about staying up late and getting drunk last night and then coming in to work late the next day with a different story.
# 2 Don’t bad mouth anyone
This goes hand in hand with tip # 1. Don’t bad mouth anyone period! It’s okay to think it, but don’t type it on Facebook. This includes a spouse, friend or coworker. What you say could come back and haunt you.
# 3 Don’t do anything to make the military look bad
The ARNG and military are very protective of their image. Don’t post anything that could potentially make your unit, the Army or the military look bad.
# 4 Watch who you associate with
Don’t become friends or fans of terrorist, racist groups, extremist groups or any shady organizations. The last thing you want to do is lose your security clearance or have to report to the commander’s office because of one of your “friends” or “liked pages” on Facebook.
# 5 Don’t do too much Facebook at work
Yes, I know you have access to Facebook on the government computers. While you might find this exciting, please remember that government can track what you do on government computers. And your Facebook stuff is public information. If you make 1,000 posts on Facebook during the work day, or even hundreds, your boss has a legit case to pursue dereliction of duty.
Overall, I believe Facebook is a great way to communicate with friends, family, coworkers and peers. But don’t make the mistake of saying or doing things you will later regret. Once you post something it is visible to the world. And even if you delete your comment, it’s still accessible. Think before you post! You will be glad that you did.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any questions? Just post them below. Thanks.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Facebook Tips for Military Personnel”
Facebook is such a touchy subject when it comes to telling people how and what you should or should not post. But really, Facebook can be a very bad tool because it can get you in trouble! Even if you don’t intend for someone to tag you in that late night adventure to the bar, which ended up getting a little out of hand, after they tag you (like you said) it is exposed to the whole world! I just think it is best to stay away from Facebook if you plan to be any bit professional, or only limit who and what can post, see or be a part of your page.
A good thing to remember is, if you wouldn’t act or say the things that you post on Facebook in real life, then don’t post them at all! The “real you” seems to come out on social media and gets lots of people in trouble! I learned that the hard way with my collegiate years!
I have plenty of friends still in the military and it absolutely amazes me how many of them talk political things on their Facebook page, especially anti-Obama and anti-Congress. While I hate politics myself, as military leaders, we should never discuss politics in a formal setting, especially when in uniform, or with people who know you are in the military. More often than not it will come back to haunt you.
I\’d like to add another tip, from a little different angle. I think it is a great idea that National Guard units create Facebook pages, especially ones that include resources for spouses and families, but just be consistent with writing new posts. I run across one every now and then that started off well, but fizzled out. Facebook is a great resource for connecting and sharing information, making it very useful for National Guard units. I would like to emphasize all of your tips in your article, however, for they are excellent ones and can save everyone a lot of future trouble.
My best advice is not to say anything that could backfire on you and get you in trouble.
Great reminder! Don't forget about the photos that your friends love to take. Funny how they happen to catch you at your least flattering moment. Be careful of situations you put yourself in. You could post nothing, but a coworker or someone you don't even know could snap the picture and tell the story. Google yourself sometime, and notice the individual activity that is itemized on pages and pages of Google results. Facebook has some good options for protecting privacy, but they are not fool proof. For instance, things you hide from your timeline still appear in news feed, search and other places on Facebook. If you wouldn't do it or say it in front of your commander, you probably don't want it documented on Facebook either.
Good points, Amy. In just the few years Facebook has been around, it has created a lot of problems for Soldiers. I don’t really blame Facebook though. Many folks just post or say stupid things on Facebook that end up backfiring on them. My rule of thumb is that if I wouldn’t say it to my mother I don’t post it online! That’s worked well for me so far.