The most common reason for using social media is keeping in touch with friends and family, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Communication is an an ever-present need for service member and military families nationwide. The holiday season is a great time to give communications technology tools a try.
Here’s a look at four options that can help military families stay in touch:
To use this little gem you’ll need a web cam, a microphone, a good Internet connection and a Google+ account. If you’re not familiar with Google+ it’s a social networking site that Google launched earlier this year. The hangout function of this site is a video chat that can be used for more than just two people. So you can have family in Texas, New York, Iowa, even overseas, and everyone can be on the same screen having a conversation together.
YouTube channels have been gaining in popularity thanks to advertising, but posting videos about the family and for the family can be another use. Imagine all the old home videos of your children’s recitals, past holidays and other important family events in the same place. This may not be as nice a getting to see a loved one’s face, but the nostalgia behind sharing old and new videos can warm hearts no matter their location.
If video really isn’t your thing, then Flickr may be worth a shot. Flickr allows you to create and share photo albums online. Older albums and newer albums may be uploaded. A new use this season may be uploading the photos taken at the family Christmas celebration so that people who couldn’t attend can still laugh and grin at the festivities.
Blogging can be a useful tool for sharing memories. Sites like Blogger or WordPress make this easy with templates for your site and an easy-to-use dashboard for uploading content. Photos, videos, recipes — no matter what you’re posting you can upload for your friends and loved ones to see.
No matter which site you try out this season remember that anything on the Internet is “fair game” as far as browsing is concerned. So only share things that you would feel comfortable about a potential stranger looking at, and as always keep OPSEC in mind when sharing information about deployed soldiers and military units.
Photo thanks to Joint Base Lewis McCord via Flickr Creative Commons