In stark contrast to recent rules set by the authorities in the US, here in the UK, the Ministry of Defence is encouraging British troops to use social networking services.

The MoD has published a new "Online Engagement Guidelines" document that makes it clear that full use of websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is a good thing and even offers advice on how to keep an audience engaged.

UK troops no longer need permission from superiors to use the services, but in what seems like a positive move for both the troops and public, "asks personnel to use common sense over the amount of detail revealed".

Brand Republic quotes an MoD spokesperson as saying: "The MoD's new common sense guidance allows service personnel to talk about themselves and their work online, within limits and with advice to protect their security, reputation and privacy".

"We will be actively seeking their feedback on how the first edition of the guidelines can be improved".