This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

Deploying Social Media to Share the Army Story

#sxsw #goarmy

As one of the largest employers in the country and with a workforce charged with national security, one would think the military wouldn’t take any risks when it comes to communication. However, the U.S. Army is leading the industry in transparency and authenticity in the social media space across social networks, building unfiltered Soldier blogs, interactive web experiences, and designing award-winning blogger outreach campaigns (e.g., throwing Twitter followers out of airplanes). Come hear from those in the trenches about how these programs were established, how Soldiers access social media when deployed, and how the Army has succeeded despite strict security, limited staff and stringent ROI. The panel features Soldier panelists from diverse Army backgrounds who are active in Army's social media programs.



Benjamin Grimes Major US Army

MAJ Grimes has been in the Army since graduating from the United States Military Academy (West Point) in 1996, spending his first 4 years in service as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot before being selected to attend law school under the Funded Legal Education Program.
Since graduating from New York University School of Law, MAJ Grimes has served as an Administrative Law Attorney, Trial Counsel (Prosecutor) and Senior Trial Counsel, Brigade Legal Adviser, Trial Defense Counsel, and Judge Advocate Recruiting Officer. After earning his LL.M. from the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center & School, he was assigned as the Senior Defense Counsel for Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in Washington state.
His previous assignments include Fort Rucker (Alabama), South Korea, Fort Campbell (Kentucky), Germany, Fort Myer (Virginia) and Washington, D.C., and deployment to Iraq as the Senior Trial Counsel for Multi-National Corps -- Iraq. MAJ Grimes is married and has two children.

Greg Swan VP, Digital Strategy Weber Shandwick

Greg Swan, VP of dig­i­tal strat­egy at Weber Shandwick, is a hybrid of public rela­tions pro­fes­sional, blog­ger and trend junkie. Greg man­ages social media strat­egy for the U.S. Army account, which fea­tures an inno­v­a­tive, award-winning online engagement ­program. Greg also runs music blog, which he receives an aver­age 100 pitches per day. This dual expe­ri­ence has posi­tioned Greg as a lead­ing resource for con­nect­ing with online influ­encers in authen­tic and engag­ing ways.

Greg has led social media for the U.S. Army marketing account for more than four years. Programs under Greg's direction have included Soldier blogging, Facebook, Twitter, mobile and instant messaging-based programs, winning major industry awards including PR Week's Best Digital/Social Program. Greg may be a civilian, but he lives and breathes Army Strong.

Greg is based in Minneapolis, MN and is known for strong opinions about the role of social media in government/military, as well as the role of outsourcing community management.

Greg has presented at SXSW, BlogWorld & New Media Expo, AMA, AdFed, IABC, PRSA, IMA and multiple conferences. He is considered a leading expert in military social media.

Kayley Nammari First Lieutenant US Army Reserve

1st Lt. Kayley Nammari currently serves as a Soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve as part of the Military Intelligence branch. Promoted to First Lieutenant in January 2011, 1st Lt. Nammari enlisted in the Army at the age of 19. She has served for almost 6 years and is currently located in Houston.

1st Lt. Nammari finished the Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leadership Course in November 2010 and can specifically speak to surviving TRADOC, after being through it three times.

1st Lt. Nammari is familiar with military life, as her father has served for more than 30 years. She is recently married and enjoys traveling, learning, and exploring new opportunities.

As the first Soldier blogger on, 1st Lt. Nammari has been sharing her opinions on what it’s like to be a female in a testosterone-fueled career since 2008. She receives praise for her blog from many readers, including young women who credit her for inspiring them to join the Army.

Levi Peffer Staff Sergeant US Army Reserve

SSG Levi Peffer is a native of Ludington, Michigan, and is currently serving in a Drill Sergeant position in the U.S. Army Reserve after completing active duty tours as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Benning, Georgia, and as an airborne infantryman at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Following four years of service and a combat tour to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division, SSG Peffer knew that he wanted to make serving his country a continued part of his life. Using the Montgomery GI Bill, he left active duty to attend college full-time and also serve in the Army Reserve where he became a Drill Sergeant. SSG Peffer continued in college while serving weekends in the Army Reserve until he volunteered for mobilization to Fort Benning in February 2009. During his mobilization, he served as a Drill Sergeant training infantryman in the 198th Infantry Brigade. SSG Peffer was selected to serve in the Drill Sergeant Exhibitor Program, which gave him the opportunity to travel and tell his “Army Story” to countless people at various events across the nation. Serving in this role, also gave him insight into the Army’s use of advertising and social media to reach its audiences. SSG Peffer was named the 2010 Fort Benning Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year after competing in and winning numerous competitions against other nominated Soldiers from Fort Benning.

He has completed numerous military courses to include Airborne School, Jumpmaster Course, US Army Combatives Instructor Course, and Maneuver Senior Leaders Course. He also has been awarded a variety of military awards that include the Purple Heart Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (5th award), Army Achievement Medal (8th award), and Iraqi Campaign Medal.

Our Awesome 2012 Sponsors