Geotagging on Social Media Networks–A Hidden Threat

By Alan Morales, WTC Stratcom

As easy as it is to update your Facebook© status, you may be exposing yourself to a substantial amount of risk. Social media makes it easy to share information, but what about information you would never want to share publicly? Geotagging is one social media technology that shares information you may be unaware about.

Digital photos are embedded with information. Similar to a date and time stamp on your 3x5” photographs, digital photos store data about when and more importantly where your photos were taken. In return, this data can be retrieved by social media websites and applications to share with the public. This is called geotagging.

For example, the Google© search engine I use practically every day can link photos posted online on various websites to its Google© Maps online application–revealing the location of where these photos were taken for anyone to see. By posting these online, you may be sharing your home address with a few million of your not-so-closest friends.

Depending on your privacy settings, geotagging may be active on your social media profiles. Websites that can geotag include:

  • Twitpic™
  • Flickr©
  • Various other photosharing applications

Why is this trend such a big deal? Geotagging poses an operational security risk to military operations. Soldiers who post photos online may be compromising critical data about operations in theater. Additionally, geotagging also poses an equally as damaging risk to those stateside who may not even be active duty or military at all. For these individuals, their frequented locations may become revealed to the general public every time they post a photo online. 

In order to address this issue, the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs posted a geotagging and location-based networking presentation online that explains how to adjust privacy settings on social media profiles to avoid geotagging. In addition, this presentation provides an in-depth description about how GPS technology, similar to geotagging, poses additional risks for social media users.

I highly recommend taking a look at this presentation and sharing it with others in our wounded warrior community. Whether you are an AW2 Soldier, Veteran, or Family member, these best practices can help prevent damaging consequences that may affect you and your loved ones while keeping social media the way it should be, fun.

Check Out Army Social Media

By COL Kevin V. Arata, Director, Online and Social Media Division Office of the Chief of Public Affairs

The Army has been engaged on the social media front for well over a year now. We are present on four major social media sites—YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook—and have created the ArmyLive blog. We are present on these platforms because we know many people are getting their information this way, much more so than going to a traditional Web site or reading a newspaper. While we still do provide a lot of information on the Army’s Web site ( to keep people informed about the Army, using social media is becoming a very viable outlet as well.

The great thing about our social media sites is they allow us to instantly share information across multiple outlets, with the added advantage of allowing dialogue amongst our audience members, and between the Army and those who are participating on our sites. Check out our Facebook fan page for a great example of people who are on our page every day, showing support for the Army, asking questions and getting answers, and getting into discussion with fellow fans and the Army.

So why does this matter to you? It’s a great way for Veterans and currently-serving Soldiers and their Families to keep abreast of what’s going on in the Army, in a manner and place where you are probably already present anyway. So rather than have to go find Army-related information, you can become an Army Facebook fan and get news feeds at about the rate of one post per day, that appear in your Facebook news feed. If you are a Twitter user, and follow us on Twitter (@USArmy), you will receive links to interesting Army stories, and be asked questions about things where we want your feedback. And you can get your fill of videos and photos from the Army while surfing YouTube, or checking out photos on Flickr.

I invite you to check out the Army’s social media sites. Check out and look for our social media icons. The links there will take you directly to our sites. You can also check out all the other Army units and installations that are actively engaged in the social media sphere. Go to the “All Army Social Media” link under our social media icons. There you will see over 350 official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr accounts from Army units and installations worldwide.

Adding The AW2 Blog to My.Army.Mil

By COL Kevin Arata, DoD DMA

Screenshot of Homepage

Screenshot of Homepage

In an effort to create a more personalized browsing experience, the U.S. Army has launched, My.Army.Mil, the first user-customized Web site under the Department of Defense.

My.Army.Mil offers visitors the ability to sign-in and create a personalized destination for official Army information, ranging from traditional news stories to up-to-the-minute social media updates. Members of the AW2 community can even easily add the AW2 Blog to My.Army.Mil to make the Web site a one stop destination for all your Army news needs.

Really, the creation of this site is for you — the user. We want you to feel like this is your page, not just the Army’s page that we are thrusting upon you. We hope that this customizable ability on makes you want to come to the Army’s Web site. You have the ability to make this page match your personality. So if you want to add an RSS feed to your pages from outside sources — that’s ok. If you want to get news from your favorite Army installations, that is an option as well. We want you to make this your one-stop shop for news — how you like it — as opposed to how we think you like it. I encourage you to play around with the widgets and see what interests you.

To create your own customized My.Army.Mil page, simply sign-in and authenticate with Google Friend Connect (AIM, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and OpenID) or AKO (Army Knowledge Online) username and password. Once you have signed up and created your account, you will be prompted to add and arrange a series of widgets to suit your specific Army information needs.

Here are some of the widgets that you can add and move on your My.Army.Mil page:

  • An All Services widget with feeds from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy, and Coast Guard.
  • Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube widgets that sync with many Army organizations
  • My Army News widget with customized feeds from Commands, Corps, Divisions,
  • Installations, and traditional news sections
  • A Features widget highlighting stories of Valor, Army events, history and heritage
  • AKO (Army Knowledge Online) widget to log-in to AKO
  • Video widget with official Army videos, newscasts and raw footage
  • RSS widget that can pull multiple feeds from external sites

To add the AW2 Blog to your My.Army.Mil page, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Log in to My.Army.Mil with either your AKO username and password or another supported service such as Google, Yahoo, AIM, Twitter, or OpenID.
  2. Click on the “Add Widgets” button that appears below where it says “HOOAH! Welcome.”
  3. A menu will appear. From the “News” column on the far left, click on “RSS.” The RSS widget should appear in the “Widgets Added” column on the far right. Click save.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you should see a widget box with the title “RSS” and a sub heading of “Front Page RSS Feed.” On the top line where it says “RSS” you should also see two intersecting arrows, two overlapping gears, and an X. Click on the overlapping gears.
  5. Once you have clicked on the overlapping gears, a drop down menu should appear with a web address for’s RSS feed. Delete the web address and copy the AW2 RSS address ( Paste the AW2 RSS address into the box. Click save.
  6. You have successfully added the AW2 Blog to My.Army.Mil.
  7. If you would like to move the AW2 Blog widget to another location on your page, hover your mouse over the intersecting arrows and hold the left mouse button down. Drag the widget to the location that you want and release the left mouse button.

For directions that include screenshots of each step, please click here.

Thanks for taking the time to check out I hope you find this is a useful Web site for you!

For additional information on My.Army.Mil, please visit or contact

Top 5 Tips for Professional Social Networking

By Ryan Alexander, AW2 Stratcom

Even prior to the current economic crisis, one of the leading ways a job seeker typically finds employment is through the various people and organizations that they know in their “social network.” Offline social networks typically include friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances and various associations or organizations a job seeker may. However, your traditional, social network might not be all that helpful to you if you want to change careers, move to a different geography, or if nobody in your social network is aware of any job openings.

Online social networking Web sites can help job seekers in these situations by expanding their social network to include professionals from across the world in just about every industry imaginable. However, to tap into the potential power of social networking Web sites, you should first follow professional social media rules of the road.

  1. Google yourself. This is one of the first things that employers and the people that you are networking with online will likely do, so it’s a good idea to see what comes up—the results may even surprise you!If you have a common name or share a name with a famous person, doing this will also allow you to establish a quick response if someone confuses you with someone else.
  2. Review your existing profiles. If you have uploaded photos of yourself from your crazy college days, now is a good time to remove them. On Facebook, you should take the extra time to make different friend lists and privacy settings for family, close friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and others. This will help control which types of information people on these sites can see and allow you to only share what you really want to.If you haven’t joined Facebook or more professional-minded Web sites like LinkedIN or Plaxo, take the time to sign up and fill out your profile with your employment history and make sure to include a professional-looking photo of yourself. Ideally, your photo should be a close up without a distracting background.
  3. Share your expertise. Just about every social networking Web site has some sort of group or blog function that allows users with similar interests to gather and discuss topics of mutual interest. Search for groups around the industry that you are seeking employment and join them. After you join, post a short introduction about yourself and let members of the group know that you are interested in networking and employment — some users may offer you advice or leads right away.After you have joined, the next key step is to contribute to the group by sharing links, news, blog posts, or starting a discussion that is related to the group topic. If other users comment on the items you post, make sure to take the time to respond to them—even if you disagree with their point of view. If you aren’t sure of what to share, look at the items that other users have submitted and contribute by posting insightful comments. The key here is to engage your fellow group members and become an active and respected member of the community.
  4. Add friends/connections. It is proper online etiquette to have established a relationship with someone before adding them as a friend. Joining a group and sending friend requests to all of the group members before establishing a relationship with them will likely get you banned from the group. After you have become a contributing member to the group, you may want to friend individuals that you find yourself engaging with on a regular basis. Once you’ve had some positive engagement with a few individuals, send them friend requests and include a note letting them know you appreciated the dialogue. This gives the person sent a friend request to a frame of reference, making it more likely that they will accept your friend request. If they accept your friend request, and the Web site allows you to have multiple types of friend lists with different privacy settings (such as Facebook), make sure to add them to your professional friend list.
  5. Invite others. Invite other existing contacts, such as former co-workers, former classmates from college, and other friends that would be likely to become active members of the group. Inviting others will enable you to gain respect by showing that you are well connected offline and care about the growth of the group. However, remember that your friends could also cause you to lose respect if they cause trouble, are disrespectful, or post items that have nothing to do with the topic of the group.

As you can see, online professional networking isn’t all that different from offline networking; the same rules and etiquette apply. However, with online networking you have to operate with the mind-set that anything you say can be easily found by your current or prospective employer.

For example, a woman in the San Francisco-area was offered a well-paying job by Cisco, but after she got the job offer she posted the following comment on Twitter:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Turns out, Cisco also has a Twitter account and they actively monitor the network for mentions of the company. When they found the above “tweet” they replied with the following:

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Social networking Web sites, if used properly, can be a powerful tool in helping you land a job. However, if used improperly, social networking Web sites can also prevent you from landing a job — or possibly even get you fired. For more information about how to successfully leverage social media for professional networking, check out the links and resources below:

Additional Resources: A Step-By-Step Guide to Using Twitter in Your Job Search, HOW TO: Leverage Social Media for Career Success, Professional Branding Blog, A Luddite’s Guide to LinkedIn, How to Use Facebook Privacy Settings and Avoid Disaster.

The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the United States Department of Defense of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. For other than authorized activities such as military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sites, the United States Department of Defense does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations.

Welcome to the new AW2 Blog!

By COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director

Welcome to our new AW2 Blog hosted by ArmyLive. In addition to our new blog we also launched a redesigned Web site today at as part of the our realignment under the Warrior Transition Command (WTC). The new Web site and blog will provide robust information and updates on how the AW2 Program is fulfilling its mission of providing personalized support to severely wounded, injured and ill Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families.

Whether you are a Soldier recovering at Walter Reed, a medically retired Veteran living in Montana, or simply a citizen who is interested in wounded warrior care, we hope that all members of the AW2 community will find the new resources on our Web site useful and share their experiences on the AW2 Blog.

One of the Web site’s many new features is an expanded Career and Education section to better assist AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families in their transition to the civilian workforce. In the coming weeks, AW2 will feature a wounded warrior employment series to highlight best practices from AW2 Career Coordinators and real-world experiences from AW2 Soldiers and Veterans.

The AW2 Blog uses a powerful blogging platform provided by ArmyLive and will continue to voice a variety of perspectives from inside AW2 on a regular basis and allow for interactive feedback in the form of comments. I hope you will take the time to explore the features enabled here that allow you to discover popular posts, access other wounded warrior care and Army Web sites, and subscribe to the AW2 Blog through a number of popular web-based RSS readers.

The most powerful and informative entries on the AW2 Blog are the stories that other AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Family members have written. I strongly encourage you to share your experiences by writing a blog entry for the AW2 Blog by contacting AW2 Stratcom at

Please visit and be sure to check back on the AW2 Blog for our wounded warrior employment series in the coming weeks.

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Write a blog for AW2

AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families can submit a blog for AW2 by emailing WarriorCareCommunications [at]