The United States Army is introducing a new smart phone application that will allow recruits, and one would assume all soldiers, to blog, tweet, and be more social. The new application will be designed for the Apple iPhone, but BlackBerry, Android, Web OS, and Windows Mobile users will be able to access the U.S. Army Web site known as “Army Strong Stories.” Military personnel can post their stories, but it is unclear whether they can post their war adventures. The new PR move is hoped to attract more recruits by offering applications for smartphones that are projected by some to command a 50% market share by the end of the year.
Recruitment numbers are down slightly according to reports, though the exact numbers were not released. In an effort to attract new recruits, the U.S. Army is hoping that smartphone applications will be an added attraction to military life. But there were a few thoughts that came to my mind when I read this news.
First, I wondered how much freedom will the U.S. Army allow soldiers in telling their stories on a blog, tweet, or Facebook posting? One would think with all of negative publicity that has been generated by the release of information by WikiLeaks, that the restriction would prohibit the free exchange of information. The U.S. Army could make it almost impossible for any posting that it could conclude was sensitive to national security.
Next, I thought if the U.S. Army was trying to expand its ‘cool’ factor by using the Internet as an attraction, why would someone want to enlist in the Army to get something they already have in civilian life? Even without the Army application, soldiers can blog, tweet, and use Facebook already on their own. So what would the attraction really be to induce civilians to enlist? I personally would doubt that a soldier passed application would be enough incentive.
I took a look at some of the stories posted at the “Army Strong Stories” site and they seemed very generic in nature. I saw no blood and guts war stories. I also want to be clear that I support our military 100% and believe the men and woman who serve our country have my respect.
But am I looking at this with a jaundiced eye?
How about offering new recruits a free phone and free cell service during their enlistment?
What is your opinion? Will an Army application attract more recruits?