This past winter, I realized putting up Christmas lights can be difficult. Freezing on my front porch, struggling to get my last set of festive decorations up and running, I discovered an entire string of lights would not light. How was I going to fix this problem? The answer was in my pocket. I pulled out my cell phone and went on YouTube, searched “How to fix Christmas lights,” and was able to troubleshoot my issue. Christmas was saved; Santa came down the chimney; and my house looked like Clark Griswold’s from Christmas Vacation.
Much like I used YouTube to solve my Christmas light dilemma, the Navy must use social tools to train its workforce, communicate across platforms, and market itself to new recruits. In every sailor’s pocket is a tool able to access the largest collection of knowledge in recorded human history: the internet. This is not a revolutionary concept. The Navy has a YouTube channel as well as web-based systems such as Navy Knowledge Online (NKO). While these attempts are noteworthy, neither maximizes the potential of the internet for 21st-century sailors.