Navy plans social network for off-duty hours

The Navy plans to develop an internal social network that will track what service members want to do during their off-duty hours.

The Navy’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation division plans to develop an internal social network that will track what service members want to do during their off duty hours, according to an announcement on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

According to the announcement, the objectives of the social network include:

  • Finding out in real time what service members do and want to do in their leisure time so that the Navy can offer relevant programs. 
  • To tailor messages to service members who express interest in specific programs. 
  • To send messages to service members in the forms they prefer. 
  • To connect service members to others who have similar interests.

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Red Rover Technologies will develop the network, according to the Jan. 28 announcement. Field roll-out of the network will be optional and funded by participating regions and installations, according to the announcement.

Communicating with young service members has been a long-term problem for the Navy, the service said.

“Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation Liberty Programs have always struggled with the challenge of getting and holding the attention of 18-25 year old service members in order to find out what they want to do in their off-duty time as well as to provide them information about available programs, events and services,” it states.

Current programs to find out what service members want usually involve anecdotal conversations and surveys that only reach a fraction of eligible users, according to the announcement.

“This age group has always been more technologically savvy than their predecessors, today, more so, than ever,” the service said. “In order to better serve our target population, Liberty needs to find a way to connect with junior service members in a way to which they can relate — technology. We need to be able to better track interest trends in order to plan and provide the kinds of programs, events and services our customers really want in order to better execute available funding and resources.”

Navy officials hope the social network will make it possible to tailor the messages communicated to service members who really want to receive the information, rather than communicating every message to every person.

Navy officials want the network to provide real-time data such as registrant numbers, registrant demographic information, and participation numbers for interest groups in the network.

The social networking community should provide the ability to track and monitor unlimited interests, provide immediate, live data retrieval at any given moment, and provide the ability to create interest groups based on customer-indicated interests, according to the announcement.

The network also should provide interfaces with online social networking and communication methods such as Facebook, Twitter and texting.