ICYMI: Finding #VetResources through online communities


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VA and RallyPoint teamed up for a #VetResources Facebook Live last week to discuss how each creates online communities for Veterans.

Marine Corps Veteran Tanner Iskra, a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team and host of the podcast Borne the Battle, joined Army Veteran David Gowel, CEO of RallyPoint, to share how the two organizations came to work together, and to discuss some of the online communities and resources that they offer to Veterans.

They shared detailed information about where to find online resources, and how Veterans can connect online with former battle buddies, discuss issues that they have in common, and learn about resources that can help.

The discussion began with a look at RallyPoint, what it is, how it works and what makes it different from other social media platforms.

Gowel put it this way: “A good way to think of RallyPoint is if you take LinkedIn and Facebook and put them together but just let in the military community, that’s us.  We have about 1.7 million members.”

The two ran through how to join RallyPoint, its unique features, how to find specific social and professional content areas on the site, and how VA works with RallyPoint to link to online resources, blogs, and other content. Iskra then asked Gowel to give some examples of how VA’s digital team and RallyPoint work together.

“They look at great programs that might be underutilized or maybe new programs,” Gowel said. “So when MISSION Act comes out, people are curious about urgent care and what that means, they share content to our members that we believe would find interesting and we look at what they say.”

The two discussed the value of online communities and the importance of providing a good experience. Gowel felt that face-to-face meetings are valuable ways to connect with people, but difficult when you have millions of Veterans to interact with. That is where social communities come in.

Interacting online

Iskra said, “From the VA’s standpoint we look at this as another front door, whether it be benefits, whether it be services, posting complex issues, posting crisis. I think the VA is doing a better job and we’re looking at how can we do a better job at interacting with those that post online, to those who are posting right now, probably in the comments.”

He shared a number of sites that VA maintains to provide important and timely information to Veterans, from social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, to VA’s blog VAntagePoint.

Gowel said that they work to support VA in a manner that helps improve the Veteran experience in their communities with VA employees joining RallyPoint to answer one-off questions, to writing blogs and participating in Live Q&As. He cited a recent post on education and another post on careers at VA.

In closing, Iskra directed Veterans to www.va.gov to learn more about VA benefits and how to apply, and encouraged them to post any questions in the comments section of the Facebook Live post.

For more details about VA benefits and how to apply, visit VA.gov.

Watch the full video below or visit VA’s Facebook Page.

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VAntagePoint Contributor

— VAntage Point Contributors provide insight and perspective on a wide range of Veterans issues. If you’d like to contribute a story to VAntage Point, learn how you can submit a guest blog at http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/how-to-submit-a-guest-post/