Which social media platform is the solution?
Like most other Veterans I’m on various social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter being the main 3, some are only connected on one.
Some of these require multiple profiles if your a veteran support organisation setting up as groups and pages. The majority on Facebook are now set to private which means you have to join the group in order to see any of the posts and non of the contents are sharable once joined, this is how multiple posts are created when it comes to things such as missing veterans, so instead of one single location for updates and coordination you now have dozens getting published with no direct link to the original source, plus you would have to join every group if you wanted to see or share anything, I would hate to estimate the amount of Veteran groups just on Facebook alone around the world.
Now the reason I’m writing this post is that I’ve been more active on LinkedIn and Twitter recently and noticed a very big difference and a massive draw back when it comes down to solving the problems we have within the Veterans Community and one of the major reasons we started the Vetnet all those years ago.
What was needed and repeated by many within our community was a single platform with everything under one roof and a single pathway that connects everything together so that we work as one unit and all accessible by the push of a button.
My personal observations on these are as follows,
Twitter in my opinion isn’t the easiest to use when starting out and limited to x amount of words and all to do with hashtags. I suppose in the right hands it could be a very useful tool when it comes to getting the word out to followers. So has its pros and cons.
Facebook is the main platform I personally use, as much as a pain in the arse it can be, its also the devil needed.
The majority of my family, personal and Veteran are all on Facebook, so it’s easier for me to see updates (when Facebook allows you too, this also comes at a risk of Facebook jail or closing down of groups due to member content), this is also the main place where I see daily posts from groups and veterans asking for support and where I can then immediately share the right link once seen, but in most cases It’s not unusual to see up to 80 replies to a cry for help, each one recommending different support often with no contact numbers or links and without them even knowing if they operate a 24 hour crisis line or simply office hours. Now put yourself in the shoes of the Veteran asking for Help would you know where to go?
Most Veterans are very proud and the last thing they do is reach out, although the stigma behind the old Man up and deal with it is slowly fading, it still exists in some of the older ones amongst us, which means in some cases its the last call before being pushed over the edge. Now imagine you’re that Veteran and you try one or two of the big well known support organisations that were recommended, only to find out they don’t work at weekends or the early hours of the morning, do you think they are going to sit there and try a third or fourth number or search through a website trying to find a number or carry out what’s going through their head? So although there is a lot of help out there its more a case of lack in education on where to go and how to get help. So again pros and cons.
LinkedIn, even though I set up my account years ago I’ve never really used it much as it came across as a mainly for businesses and job search site. The other thing that put me off it was the majority of people on there all come with letters after their names. I’m a Veteran of 12 years and managed to reach the glorious height of Lance Comical. Now as a low ex ranking Veteran why would i want to be on a platform along with ex officers and Business CEOs, don’t get me wrong I’ve served under some fantastic officers who I still have high respects for and some who we call the old boys network who don’t talk or listen to the lower ranks as its beneath them. I’ve no honours or degrees but sometimes that’s a good thing in my opinion and like many other veterans with the same qualifications as me, who have still become highly successful at what they do but still not recognised for what they are doing simply due to the fact they are missing some letters after their name. But just like Facebook, LinkedIn is one of the devil’s needed in order to reach the right people and build yet another network. As I mentioned above about the letters behind names, LinkedIn is the right place to make these connections to the people in the right places, the only trouble with this is that you often can’t contact half of these people so you have to try and build up networks in order to hopefully make contact with them. The people I’m on about are the heads of Veteran Networks and CEOs, these are often ex Generals and Admirals etc. and the ones that are making a lot of the major decisions within our community, who and in my own opinion are often completely out of touch with what’s really going on within the community, instead of listening to advisors they should start listening and speaking with the grass root organisations that deal with problems on a daily basis with either little or no funding. Great for building up professional networks but not very good at seeing what’s going on within the community.
Lastly the Vetnet
The Vetnet is our Free Fully interactive platform which comes with a yellow pages of Veteran support networks, a worldwide map of veteran support plus a free App which contains the social media groups, guiltily I don’t use the App as much as I should and here’s the reason why.
Like 99% of any Veteran support organisation you are constantly trying to push your message out there, either to gain new members, sharing important content such as a missing veteran to other groups (classed as spam if shared to many times on Facebook) or generally fighting for funding. This means that you are so busy trying to do these things you don’t have time or want to do anything different that could help, as you see it as way backwards saying it will never work which I’ve heard so many times in the past and yet 5 years later I’m still here because I know it works and has been proven to work by those already using it.
The Vetnet now gives you the option of having one central location where one message can be posted and shared multiple times on the above mentioned platforms, without having to leave anything you have already built up. This would then directly link back to the original poster for any updates and inquiry. Already broken down into Countries regions and counties, those that operate 24-hr-helplines-and-message-service, those that work office hours, where they are located when it comes to finding the nearest support and all accessible via the click of a button including direct links to phone numbers to save you writing down any numbers. Essentially a central message board, the Vetnet.
Maybe I’m seeing something that nobody else can see but looking forward to hear if I’m the only one out there that can see a solution to the never ending promises we keep hearing about but so far not many results in the issues we keep seeing.