The Pentagon Channel has added live, interactive video platform Ustream to the Army's "arsenal" of social media distribution.
The Department of Defense already employs Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and "whatever else comes out tomorrow," according to channel spokesman Michael Winneker.
In conjunction with Monday's unveiling of the revamped DOD web site, defense.gov, the Ustream channel will add a social networking/interactive element to the Pentagon Channel. That channel already reaches 2.6 service members on military bases and other postings, as well as 16 million households via commercial distribution on satellite and cable MSO's in systems with large military populations.
For example, a live briefing will be able to include a moderated discussion involving online participants, as well as allowing Pentagon Channel online viewers to talk to each other about programming or issues like, for example, the G.I. Bill.
Ustream also allows users to upload their own videos. Winneker says that is in the works, but is not yet authorized for viewers to the Ustream Pentagon Channel given concerns about security. "You don't want someone uploading video that could give away their position," he cites as an example. But he also points out that there is already an authorized site, trooptube.tv, where videos can be uploaded and shared.
Expanding online distribution and interactivity is in line with the Obama administration's efforts to revolutionize the government's online presence, and was at the directive of Price Floyd, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, who oversees the Web site and the channel.