When the Air Force wanted to track public reaction to the disastrous New York flyover by Air Force One, they monitored Twitter and other social sites.
From AP via Yahoo News:
WASHINGTON – As the Pentagon warns of the security risks posed by social networking sites, newly released government documents show the military also uses these Internet tools to monitor and react to coverage of high-profile events.
The Air Force tracked online messaging service Twitter, video-sharing site YouTube and various blogs to assess the huge public backlash to the Air Force One flyover of the Statue of Liberty this spring, according to the documents.
And while the attempts at damage control failed — "No positive spin is possible," one PowerPoint chart reads — the episode opens a window into the tactics for operating in a boundless digital news cycle.
This new terrain has slippery slopes, though, for the military. Facebook, MySpace and other social media sites are very popular among service members, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan who want to keep in touch with friends and family. The sites are also valued by military organizations for recruiting or communicating with other federal agencies.