Marine Recruiters Turn to MySpace - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/26/06

Marine Recruiters Turn to MySpace

As fighting in Israel and Lebanon and Iraq continues, more fighting men and women may be called upon to help keep the peace, and the Marines have found just the way to do it...over the internet.

MySpace.com is one of the most popular sites on the web. The Marines hope some of those surfers will become the next set of recruits.

Their slogan is the few, the proud. But the Marines are always looking for a few more good men and women. That's where MySpace comes in.

"We're getting out of the mailing network system or just using business cards," said Gunnery Sgt. William Barham. "This is now 24/7 day a week for these individuals."

Barham now keeps his computer on all day long and logged on to MySpace. It's the newest tool in Marine recruiting, sending a pitch through cyberspace.

"It will be easier for them to go on a website and look at something instead of walking to the front door," noted Barham.

Savannah's recruiting team has created its own MySpace profile (http://myspace.com/savusmc), designed to give kids a different way to look at a military career.

"If it's easier for the applicant, easier for me, easier for the whole process, then it makes it easier for the individual who is interested in the Marine Corps," noted Barham.

And it's a great networking tool for the Corps. New recruits have their own pictures and logos on their pages, and have added the Marines to their "friend" lists. That's free marketing which could lead to more recruits.

"Another applicant might view this individual's page, or our website, and I might want to talk to this individual," said Barham.

And some MySpace users agree. "People involuntarily welcome it more because it's a friend as opposed to someone trying to get me to join my group," said Jason Owenby of Savannah.

But others say the Marines' "friendly" tactics take it too far. "It's a place where friends like talk and stuff," said Kelly McDearman. "They don't need to be there. It's harassing for them to be there."

Right now, Savannah recruiters say they aren't harassing anyone. They only send messages to MySpace users who show interest in their site.

Recruiters want everyone to remember, just because you show interest doesn't mean you are automatically in. A face-to-face meeting and qualification check still have to be be done before you sign on the dotted line.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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