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Social media - the good, bad and ugly

Jul. 18, 2009 - 12:38PM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 18, 2009 - 12:38PM  |  
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The Good

Social media is ideal for troops who have friends all over but don't have the time to call or e-mail them individually, Army blogger Sgt. Selena Coppa says. "It's a great way to keep in touch with your family and friends while overseas, as well as with other friends who have disappeared to other posts."

The Bad

Some commanders don't like opinionated troops. Coppa, a military intelligence specialist and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, never had a problem with blog blowback until she arrived at her new unit in Germany. Now, she's being threatened with punishment and possible discharge. "Joe Hoo-ah never has a hard time blogging," she said, but "Joe Hey-Our-Unit-Has-Problems might face some difficulties."

The Ugly

"A lot of commanders will search Facebook and MySpace for their soldiers to try to find incriminating evidence against them," Coppa says. She said she knows of one unit in Iraq whose soldiers were ordered to provide their Facebook and MySpace identities to the command so the leaders could check posts. "People are getting Article 15s for what happens on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube."

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