A few weeks ago at Digital Life, I attended the Virtual Army Experience, a big promotional "virtual reality" game that emulated a mission in the U.S. Army. It was pretty fun, and I generally enjoyed the experience despite its poorly masked primary purpose as a recruitment tool.
Unfortunately, the Army hasn't stopped calling me since I tried the Virtual Army Experience.
When I took the Virtual Army Experience, I had to give contact information. This didn't surprise me, and I used my work e-mail and phone number. I thought maybe I'd get an e-mail or two, and I could just laugh it off as typical. I mean, this is a recruitment tool, it's not that surprising.
So far I've gotten four Army recruitment e-mails and two voice mail messages from Army recruiters. At my work e-mail and voice mail. The first mail was the follow-up I expected: a simple promotional mail thanking (insert person) for taking the Virtual Army Experience at (insert event), here's a brochure with information on joining the Army. But then I started getting the same "eligibility survey" three times in a row:
"Thank you for your interest in the United States Army. A short while ago you requested information regarding the United States Army and enlistment opportunities. This may have been in the form of a T-shirt and video, a ball cap, an information packet, or some other promotional item. We hope this information was received quickly and was useful to you. Now that you have had some time to examine your information, we are contacting you to see if you would like to know more about your options and opportunities in the United States Army and Army Reserve."
This is in addition to the two calls I've gotten from recruiters asking to send more information about joining the Army. These messages were left on my office voice mail, which clearly state I'm an assistant editor at CNET.
I'm not upset and I'm not all that surprised by this. It's just pretty darn funny. Regardless of politics, I'm an asthmatic nerd and one of the last people you'd want to join the armed forces. Let this be a clear lesson that free games and events like the Virtual Army Experience and America's Army are, above all else, recruitment tools. If you sign up for them, they'll think you're interested in joining the army.