Wow, no posts since Feb? Whoops! So much for being the social media guy, right?
To my defense, I’ve been a little busier than usual. Those in my normal circles have known, but the world at large may have been left out of the loop. I am leaving the Army.
It has been about seven and a half years since I raised my hand and processed into the service. It was a whirlwind romance. I stepped into the recruiter’s office the day after New Year’s 2003 and was at basic training three weeks later.
It’s how I roll, though. I have a tendency to completely reinvent myself every couple of years. Being in the military has been life changing in more than the usual ways since it has forced me to stick with one thing for nearly a decade. Still, time is time.
I’ve had wonderful opportunities in the last couple of years. In January 2009 I started my tenure as the official DINFOS emerging media coordinator. I’d been working the social media scene since I arrived here in June 2007, but it was more of a hobby and personal quest for revolution, rather than any official capacity.
Since my christening, I’ve worked with dozens of awesome peeps at the DOD, major command and service level. I had the chance to go to SHAPE, the military arm of NATO, and contributed to their first strategic communication directive working with social media. I’ve been on the DOD’s all-services social media council and threw my $0.02 in on DTM 09-026, the DOD’s first social media policy(ish).
My time at DINFOS was winding down, though, and I had a choice. I could stay in the Army and go on to do the normal E7 stuff, or I could let my enlistment expire and continue with the social media fight in DOD. Although I was surprised to make the E7 list with just six years in, I wouldn’t be able to keep working in my social media circles while in uniform. There are no positions like mine at DINFOS in the regular military. There will be in a few years, but for now, I have to get out of uniform to keep working for those in uniform.
Strange huh? I think so also, but that’s the way of things.
My former chief of public affairs, Maj. Gen. Bergner, had been tremendously supportive and offered to give me whatever assignment in the Army I wished to keep me in, but I’m hardly close to retirement. Fourteen years is a long time.
Even if I stayed around for one more tour, eventually, a couple of years from now, I would have to return to “normal” military assignments: checking humvees, planning field problems and deployments—which is no problem, but I’d miss out on influencing the DOD social media discussion. If I could just do more years in the desert and still come back to what I’m doing now, that might suffice.
But I might as well just get out, get paid a lot more, do what I want and NOT have to get shot at anymore. It becomes a pro/con thing.
So, good luck to my uniformed sisters and brothers, and the DOD civvies that keep things rocking. I’ll be around more than you might think. I’m not done yet 🙂
About salemonzBorn in San Diego, Calif. Raised as a Navy Brat, I jumped ship and crossed over to the Army. Served as an enlisted journalist for a bunch of years, then helped the DoD figure out what the hell to do with social media. After the Army, now I drift down the river of life, trying not to be a jerk.
Hey there! I'm a former Army print journalist and DoD social media zealot. I spend my days in the public relations and marketing worlds, chatting about technology and working on fun side projects.
I write, dance and do most things.
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