Story submitted by Kirsten
Social media is a wonderful tool for submarine spouses. We move so frequently and have so little time to figure out who is going to be our emergency contact, let alone form friendships and meaningful relationships.
Social media can be used to make quick determinations of who might make a good match for your next friend. My closest and longest submarine friend was made after spending time on her Pinterest page. We were on the same boat but didn’t run in the same circles. I messaged her with something to the effect of “I read your Pinterest page and decided that we should be very good friends.” A million play dates and way too much coffee later, I am so grateful for social media (and what my friend decided to post).
We can keep an eye on who is vulnerable. A quick shout out to the universe while in crisis can be helped. I choose to not be annoyed by posts like “I’m having the worst day.” I like to send out a personal message. Why is it the worst day, what can I do to help? We’ve all been there.
But even with all these wonderful things, we need to be smart about how to interact with social media. As submarine spouses, there are things we should and should not do on social media.
Here’s some basic do’s and don’ts:
Do keep the safety of your family at the forefront of your mind
We can keep in touch with family that’s so very far away, but always think about what can be inferred from the information you put out. I post about my husband and my family, but I choose to keep it vague.I choose to be sporadic about when my husband appears in my news feed. My sister-in-law’s father once commented that he could never tell if my husband was in or out of port. It keeps my family just a bit safer.
Do realize that what you post is helping others form an opinion about you
Think about what you post and be sure that is how you want to be seen.
Do assume that anything you post can be read by anyone, even if you are in a “secret” group
Practice OPSEC and PERSEC at all times.
Don’t publicly disagree with an action or decision of your spouse’s command
Social media is not the place for that.
Don’t post about your spouse leaving
This is major. Do not publicly share deployment or underway timelines, countdowns or anything related to boat movement. Your FRG should be able to provide more thorough updates and rules about this. When in doubt, practice OPSEC.
Don’t share suspicious news articles
During my husband’s first deployment I had a friend post a news story about an American submarine spotted off the coast of a foreign country. It terrified me. I remember crying in the shower. The story was later proved to be a piece of propaganda from said country. Don’t post such things. It causes fear and anxiety in our fellow spouses at best, and at worst the piece could be true. In those times the spouses affected need to hear about devastating news from the proper channels. Don’t be the person to give them that news.
By following best practices and observing OPSEC, we can make a difference together. Have additional tips for spouses? Leave them in the comments below!