With more and more of the younger generation spending their time on computers and less time in the traditional young adult hang-out spots, the military decided that it was time to modernize their recruiting tactics and market themselves and their causes in the online world.Â
As if staking out high school lunchrooms, hanging out at malls, and calling students at home wasn’t enough – you can now find the Marines on MySpace.Â Â Â Their profile has been up for about five months, and remarkably it seems to be going over well there.Â The Marines are hunting down new “friends” and being added to others’ friends lists just like they are “one of the gang”.
The Air Force advertises on MySpace, but does not have a profile page, and the Navy has no presence on the site at this point in time.Â The Army’s profile page is apparently being worked on now by its ad agency, and according to military personnel, it should be up soon.
The MySpace effort on the part of the Marines (and soon the Army)Â is a part of the millitary’s broader effort to use the Internet to find new recruits. Since the launch of the profile, they have gained over 12,000 “friends, and report that 430 have gone to their site and signed up to be recruited. Simply recruiting online, however, is only just the beginning. Don’t think that they’ve stopped at MySpace.Â
Their efforts alsoÂ entail spending $1 million a year on banners and profiles linked on popular sites like sportingnews.com and gamespot.com.Â They hope that this will drive more traffic to their websites, and in turn, help gain more recruits.
And now, it has been revealed that the military is using our hard-earned tax dollars to fund military personnel surfing the net.Â Just what do these net-surfing millitary folks do?Â Well, apparently they are fond of leaving blog comment spam, and infiltrate popular web forums and online discussions.Â Â Allegedly, they have a special affinity for politically and militarilyÂ inclined discussions.Â The purpose of these efforts is again to drive people to their website, showcase the efforts of the military, and to correct people from sharing so-called incorrect information.Â
They also work with about 250 bloggers to disseminate “news about the good work being done by U.S. forces in the global war on terror.”Â Through this, they areÂ reaching a total target audience of around 17 million people.
Don’t believe me?Â Check out the U.S. Department of Defense website where they openly talk about their online blog efforts.
Welcome to the 21st Century.