WASHINGTON (NNS) -- One week after his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/mcpon, surpassed ten thousand "fans", Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick D. West used the Web site to announce his intent to further leverage social media as a significant communications device.
West, in a note he posted to Facebook Dec. 7, said he anticipates another thousand fans by Christmas, and that the response he's received from Sailors and Navy families has been surprising and encouraging. He also said that the real value of social media is the opportunity to share ideas.
"We started out tentatively and that's fine. But, now that we have momentum, I believe we should push it even further. I want to start putting your best ideas on our page," West wrote. "Is your command doing something like that? If so, let us know. We want to introduce that idea to the fleet and leverage it for the good of all Sailors."
West unveiled his public Facebook page June 25 and has been aggressive in tackling subjects Sailors around the Navy tell him they are most concerned with.
"We've discussed the wear policy for the NWU and your feedback made its way to our CNO. We've discussed women aboard submarines and the debates on that subject have been enlightening and well-spoken. Almost every decision or new policy released or considered in the last half-year has been brought up here and discussed. I find that is immensely gratifying, and I hope it continues."
MCPON wrote that he hopes for even more interaction in the coming months, but pointed that it has never been his intent to use Facebook, or any form of social media, to subvert a Sailor's standard chain of command. West said that many times the responses he provides to Sailors' questions are short and to the point.
"Many times the answer I give you will boil down to, 'Ask your CMC' because we have to ensure your command is aware and engaged at their level for the issue. Other times, we'll do the research and provide a response because we know your question is something that falls outside the normal lane of your local leadership."
In the six months since the MCPON Facebook page was created, the site has averaged approximately two thousand page views per day with an average of 500 new "fans" per week. Since then, West has branched out to other areas of social media, as well. Accounts with Twitter (http://twitter.com/MCPONPAO), Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/43070230@N03/)and Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/mcponpao) all host archives of various communications products West has pushed to the Navy's Chief Petty Officer's Mess.
"I believe we are on the cutting edge of military communication," said West. "We are all breaking new ground, and I appreciate your role in that."
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