Terminal Lance #317 “The Social Network IV”
April 22, 2014
Something that’s kind of been on my mind lately is the advent of social network platforms in the military environment. This particular administration of command (Gen. Amos and SgtMaj Barrett) has faced an unstoppable barrage of social media ever since they took office. Never before in the history of the military (and especially the Marine Corps) has the world been so transparent and accessible to every Marine in the Corps. At the cost of a few swipes and a ridiculously expensive data plan, you can hop on Facebook or Twitter and get the latest scoop directly from both the Marine Corps command as well as independent outlets.
Not to toot my own dick, but I credit Terminal Lance itself with opening that door. Before this humble comic strip, there really wasn’t any form of independent voice on the internet in terms of the military community at large. I recall, in the beginning days of my efforts here (2010), being really, genuinely worried that I was going to get in some kind of trouble for what I was doing. How would I know otherwise? No one had ever sought to bring a voice to the lower enlisted until then. After Terminal Lance became a thing, you began to see a lot of other independent military voices spring up across the void of the world wide web.
This mess of angry, unfiltered opinions is what you see today. Even just a few years ago, it would be unthinkable to openly insult the Commandant or the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. Today that is not the case, as made painfully obvious by really any Facebook thread even mentioning either one. Marines are upset (and they have a right to be), as they have been in the past–but unlike any other time in history, their voices are on full display.
Unlike any other time in history, the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps can instantly send a 140 character statement to a lowly Lance Corporal of Marines (I know I picked up in the IRR, shut up).
From my perch here on the Terminal Lance… tree (lol I dunno)… I observe a lot. From what I can tell, it seems like the Marine Corps command (and at large) is still coming to terms with this newfound revolution in communication. The military community has historically been one of tight control and censorship. Today’s military, within the last few years, is anything but. In today’s world, the internet has the ability to empower as well as tear apart anyone it so desires. The Marine Corps is learning this the hard way, with negative press about the Commandant’s scandals and recently SgtMaj Barrett’s words on pay cuts, being prominently featured and enflamed at every turn.
Welcome to the new age.
We all know that Marines are famous for their ability to adapt and overcome, and if I were to give advice, I would say its something the Marine Corps command desperately needs to do at this point.