New Social Media App Keeps Vets Connected and Offers a "Flare" for Support
Social networking has become a popular way for friends and family to stay in touch, sometimes connecting with people they haven’t seen in years. For military veterans, traditional social media outlets can be a great way to find fellow veterans, but most people on Facebook and Twitter are interacting with a large network of people. Veterans need a more private social media experience where they can network with other vets who share their own experiences.
Billing itself as the social network for the 0.5%, POS REP uses GPS to help veterans find other veterans within their own geographic area. Short for Position Report, POS REP is an app that can be downloaded on an iOS device for free. It will soon be available for Android devices, as well. Made by military veterans for military veterans, POS REP is designed to remove the sense of isolation among veterans, helping them connect with those who share their backgrounds and stay in touch with their fellow squadron members long after they’ve retired from active duty.
One of POS REP’s many benefits is its ability to help veterans who feel isolated, especially in the years following a tour of duty. An estimated 11-20 percent of those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom are believed to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a given year, while 12 percent of those who served in the Gulf War suffer from it. The numbers are even higher for those who served in the Vietnam War, with 30 percent of all veterans of that war having suffered from PTSD at some point since serving.
PTSD is a serious issue, leading to depression, higher rates of physical problems, and suicidal thoughts in some people. Experts have found that by discussing their lingering feelings with other veterans, those suffering from PTSD can find a certain amount of relief. Not only does POS REP offer a sounding board through the app itself, its GPS functionality allows veterans to locate vets located nearby. Being able to directly connect with a vet in person could make a big difference to someone suffering from PTSD symptoms.
While the app is geared toward connecting veterans, it doesn’t divulge a person’s exact location unless he checks in using a “flare.” Veterans instead are told about veterans who are nearby without giving their exact addresses, letting users decide whether they want to get in touch or not.
In addition to discovering other veterans nearby, POS REP helps vets find resources like nearby healthcare, access to employment opportunities, and more. The app has been particularly successful in Los Angeles, where developers partnered with the local chapter of Volunteers of America to provide mentors to vets who need it.
POS REP demonstrates the power technology has to make a big difference in today’s society. In addition to helping vets feel more connected, the technology can also help them find the support they need to adjust to civilian life after years of military service.