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As a true member of Generation X, I could name at least six National Lampoon’s movies, sing every word to “Ice, Ice Baby” without stopping to breathe and tell tall tales of a time long ago, when MTV actually played music.

Growing up during this fun, free-to-be-me time, I often heard the justifiable rants of the baby boomer generation as they reflected back on the checks and balances their communities had in place to correct any misbehavior.

My elders would profess, “When I was younger, if I stepped out of line in public, I could be reprimanded by the community members and my parents would know everything that happened before I even arrived at the front door. Then, my parents would commence to discipline me.”

I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m glad the times have changed!”

Since the dawn of the information age, with the invention of the telegraph in 1835, new and improved technologies have been spawning at an exponential rate. Today, the next best device is out before you can even learn about the device you just purchased.

What’s even more notable is how the introduction of social networking has made the age of information a living entity.

Generation Y and their predecessors have the unique experience of growing up in this new era of visibility. Just about everyone has access to the whole world right in the palm of their hands and are accustomed to relating every thought instantaneously to virtual “friends” via social networking. Whether status updates are done in the privacy of home, a parked car or somewhere on a deserted island, it is important for everyone to keep in mind that what is said and done on social networking sites and the internet is scribed with ink onto the proverbial walls in cyberspace.

Inviting people into the realm where insight, inspirational and indignant thoughts are conveyed, on your “personal” account, imparts information about your character and lifestyle to close friends and complete strangers.

Some of those strangers could be future employers, looking for a more complete view of a perspective employee.

“Many employers are now searching Google for a look into the lives of potential employees, beyond their resume and cover letter,” said Kirsten DiChiappari, social media consultant. "I can see things that you may not have thought I could see and I'm going to be looking at that stuff."

Thinking it through before making comments, posts and status updates is not only helpful advice for managing your personal account, but an outright necessity when engaging in activities on any employer’s Social Networking Site. Military installations and corporations alike have policies in place for professionalism on social networking sites such as Facebook. SNSs provide organizations with maximum impact.

Used effectively, SNSs build relationships, generate new clientele and disseminate necessary information to a vast audience. If this powerful tool is taken for granted, relationships can be ruined, businesses can crumble and misinformation or too much information can produce dire consequences.

There is a positive maximum impact effect on Team Andrews’ numerous Facebook sites that garner the undivided attention of troops and their families. All of the External Official Presences (EOP), official public affairs activities conducted on Non-DoD internet sites, here like, Joint Base Andrews Facebook page, or one of our mission partners, the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Facebook page are responsible for adhering to standards set by Directive Type Memorandum 09-026- Responsible and Effective use of Internet-based Capabilities.

Some of the standards of compliance are:

- EOPs must clearly identify that DoD provides content.

- Receive approval from the responsible Office of the Secretary of Defense or DoD Component Head. (Risks for using Internet-based capabilities assessed.)

- Be Registered on the EOPs list maintained by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs on www.Defense.gov.

- Remain in compliance with all DoD Directives found in DTM-09-026.

- Use official DoD & command seals & logos per ASD (PA) guidance.

- Clearly indicate role and scope of EOP.

- Provide links to the organization’s official public website.

- Ensure that the information posted is relevant and accurate and provides no information that is not approved for public release, including personally identifiable information that could lead to aggregation for purposes of identity theft.

- Include a disclaimer when personal opinions are expressed (e.g. “This statement is my own and does not constitute an endorsement by or opinion of the Department of Defense”)

There are also numerous unofficial external presences that are very popular here at Team Andrews. The Andrews Air Force Base Wives, The Club at Andrews, The Courses at Andrews, Andrews AFB Running club and Andrews AFB Outdoor Recreation Facebook pages are a few.

While these unofficial pages are not required to adhere to the all of the standards set forth in the DTM-09-026 for EOPs; they represent Andrews and are expected to adhere to necessary guidelines to ensure security, accuracy and appropriateness.

Administrators and participants should keep these helpful hints in mind when using unofficial EOPs:

- The enemy is engaged. Security and Accuracy are paramount on external presences. Providing unnecessary information regarding locations, dates, timeframes and other personally identifiable information could lead to aggregation of information that could be used to harm an individual or organization.

Also, users should be aware of Geo-tagging when updating content on EOPs.

- Don’t Give Classified information

- Tell the truth

- Constructively give your opinion

- Always identify yourself

- Safety

- Be aware of the image you present

- Use Common Sense

- Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks

“You have the right to say what’s on your mind. But you must keep in mind that you’re signing your digital finger print whenever you make a post,” said DiChiappari. “General comments can damage the reputation of your business.”

Even though times have drastically changed, certain things have remained the same. To a higher degree of accountability, the internet environment is much like a baby boomers small- town community that’s always watching and holds its members accountable.

To comfortably maintain your genuine and authentic relationships with close friends on-line, adjust your security settings as needed.