The Politics of Social Media in the Department of Defense; How DoD's Status Changed From Friend to Defriend to Friend Again
Cuccio, Claire Ellen
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The introduction of social media presented a significant challenge to the often secretive culture of the U.S. military. DoD struggled with publishing a social media policy forcing the armed services to develop their own policies, which were all inconsistent. When DoD finally established a social media policy in 2007, certain social media sites were banned from the Services' networks for a variety of reasons -- the one most often quoted was risk. In February 2010, DoD completely reversed its policy and embraced social media. The new policy required the military to allow open access on the networks to social media for all employees, despite much resistance from internal stakeholders. In this dissertation, I research three significant events during the development of the DoD Social Media Policy: (1) the pre-policy environment, including actions to restrict social media on the DoD networks (2) coming to closure on the current policy and how DoD made its decision to open the networks to social media, and (3) the post-closure period and its ongoing and new tensions. This research project is a qualitative study of the evolution of social media (pre- and post a formal policy) within the DoD through the lens of social construction of technology (SCOT) and a discourse analysis of the policy formulation. My findings indicated that references to security and privacy risk, sociotechnological inevitability, responsible online behavior and youth were particularly important to the military discourse on social media. The study concludes the risk is worth to benefit to service members who want to use social media. Service members accept the sociotechnological inevitability of social media and feel they are responsible enough to use it wisely. The issue of youth was found to be not really a concern and leadership emerged as a discourse and is often referenced to solve any issue that may arise from the use of social media within the military environment.
- Doctoral Dissertations