Not in every field is social media appreciated and the latest entry to it is the Indian Army. Yesterday the Indian Army issued orders to its officers and other ranks to immediately quit social networking sites such as Facebook, Orkut, etc. And also ordered those who have not joined to stay away from such sites in the future.
The news comes just after two days when a Naval Board of Inquiry (BoI) had recommended for action to be taken against four senior naval officers who were in alleged possession of highly classified information and leaking them through social networking sites. The strong measure taken by the Indian Army would be binding on all 36,000 officers and other personnel of the 1.13 million-strong force. Initially the army had planned to monitor the activities but pretty soon they realized that it would be a mammoth task to do so and that too on a network which they don’t have control over.
One would debate if this is a right move. Well I think that in the first place Army shouldn’t have allowed its personnel to be on such open forums and the decision that it has now taken is more of doing a quick fix instead of finding the root cause.
What the Army could have done in the first place:
1. The Army should have gone a step further and built it’s own social network. The idea of social media is about engagement and sharing benefits in which case the network doesn’t matter at all. This would also allow tracking and monitoring any wrongdoing.
2. Educating and creating social media policies, an area that most organizations have overlooked till now but now they all have to pay attention to it. So not only the staff is aware but they also know the reasons why such policies are in place.
3. Finally social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. could be used by the Indian Army to reach out to people in terms of awareness and motivating youngsters to join the Indian Army. A method that is being extensively used by US Army. One doesn’t need to copy them but we can atleast learn from their mistakes.
And in order to make such things happen, we need evangelists and change in behavior. If a conservative army community such as US can go ahead and adopt social media in the right way, then I think even India can set benchmarks.
But for now the Indian Army has closed the door for social media and has ordered to abide with the rules. Do you think we will see change in behavior from the Army? I am aware that it is a matter of security but then laws are broken in all ways and it has happened when people were not accustomed to social media. I guess it’s time to introspect and ask questions rather than shutting the door on social media.
What do you think?