Does social media hurt or help the military? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Does social media hurt or help the military?

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) -

To some, it may seem like social media is taking over. There are many ways you can stay connected. Some say it has single handedly changed the way we communicate.

Recently a Fort Carson, Colorado soldier died while serving in Afghanistan. His wife received news of his death from a platoon member through Facebook, before the Casualty Assistance Officers could contact her.

"It's terribly unfortunate that something like that would ever happen. You tell your friend and you tell your wife and all of a sudden they feel so bad and want to give you their condolences and they may not even think about the fact that person hadn't been told through official channels yet," says SPC Erik Anderson with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning.

Specialist Anderson is the administrator to one of the most "liked" fan pages of any brigade in the military.  He says the military is definitely embracing the web as a means of communication and education. With over 14,000 "likes" on the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Teams fan page, Anderson says they can reach out in ways they never have before. He says the military does advise them to be smart when posting to social networks.

"There are some smart use guides out there. Amongst those, are responsible use. One of the great things about living in the United States is we are a free country, we have the freedom of speech and one of the things that we fight for as soldiers is that freedom on speech," said SPC Anderson

He says if a soldier does post something online that's a violation of operations security or in poor taste, they would not be upholding the image or standard of ethics they should follow and may be asked to remove it.

For Specialist Anderson, being online during deployment helped him develop a special bond all parents desire. "I left when my son was 12 days old. While I was there, I got to Skype with him and see him almost everyday; so on video I watched him grow up. He knew by the time I got home the sound of Skype ringing was me and he knew my face when I came home."

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