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  1. #21
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    Default Engaging vulnerable audiences with New Media

    PAO’s, IO Dudes, and PSYOPer’s, I could use some help if anyone has some recommendations.
    I have been writing on and off in Small Wars Journal for the past year about foreign fighters, how they are recruited, what can be done about it, etc. I have another installment coming out in the next couple weeks but am starting to research for the next extension of this path I am on which is how to break the local communication cycles where foreign fighters are recruited. The new administration has already talked about their shift to Smart Power (which includes Strategic Communication, PSYOP, IO, etc.) which will be critical in accomplishing this. I just got done reading the study “Social Software and Security: An Initial ‘Net Assessment’” by NDU professors Dr. Mark Drapeau and Dr. Linton Wells http://www.ndu.edu/ctnsp/Defense_Tech_Papers.htm.
    It’s really good and being not so savvy on new media, a good starting point for me.
    Has anyone seen any research or case studies on how the US can use the new media to influence these hard to reach audiences where foreign fighters are being recruited? places the US doesn't have a persistent presence?
    The above study gives some good case studies of how new media is being used. But, I am looking for some success stories from DOD and the West that are out there, where we have used new communications platforms (like this one) to engage vulnerable audiences. I have seen stories about CENTCOM using Youtube and an article about the British text messaging against the Taliban but I haven’t found much. Also, I want to look into the implications of using these new media platforms for SC, IO, PSYOP. Any thoughts you all have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any recommendations.

  2. #22
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    Default

    The youtube angle sounds viable and probably could be the most fruitful. I can envision what I would put out on utube to target young men in 3rd world countries with visions of swag and glory wanting to take on the infidel invaders. Conventional thinkers with traditional backgrounds in such matters should probably be avoided. I would reach out to the sub cultures of the musicians and artists, graphics people and videophiles, the avante garde, underground type type folks. Their morals and political persusasions would run contrary to yours but said obstacles are easily overcome with crisp cash as such folk often tend to be borderline impoverished.

  3. #23
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    My immediate thought would be to focus on the mobile space first, rather than the workstation-based internet platforms, like laptop or desktop computers. The mobile space is growing faster and is much more pervasive in many of the at-risk areas where I would imagine you are focused. From a technical, implementation standpoint, companies like Clickatell already provide the capability to reach mobile users across different carries in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan with a relatively simple, commercial platform and API. A strong presence in the mobile space will create room to then drive people towards more content-rich and flexible platforms, like youtube or facebook, which could carry an even stronger message. Some new media platforms, like twitter, coexist within both spaces as well. I apologize for not having any case studies or examples at hand, but I thought this bit of information might be useful from the tech/implementation side.

    Another consideration when looking at social media in a counterinsurgency capacity is to anticipate and plan for the intimidation that will likely arise when insurgents begin to target members of the population who are identified as using these technologies, whether mobile phones or computers. Any new media strategy must be built upon the ability to protect the population (or potential terrorist/insurgent recruits that we wish to influence) while also providing the communications channels for effective IO. Just a thought.

    Hopefully this will at least give you a few points to think about!

  4. #24
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Post Good Post

    Quote Originally Posted by MCalvin View Post
    My immediate thought would be to focus on the mobile space first, rather than the workstation-based internet platforms, like laptop or desktop computers. The mobile space is growing faster and is much more pervasive in many of the at-risk areas where I would imagine you are focused. From a technical, implementation standpoint, companies like Clickatell already provide the capability to reach mobile users across different carries in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan with a relatively simple, commercial platform and API. A strong presence in the mobile space will create room to then drive people towards more content-rich and flexible platforms, like youtube or facebook, which could carry an even stronger message. Some new media platforms, like twitter, coexist within both spaces as well. I apologize for not having any case studies or examples at hand, but I thought this bit of information might be useful from the tech/implementation side.

    Another consideration when looking at social media in a counterinsurgency capacity is to anticipate and plan for the intimidation that will likely arise when insurgents begin to target members of the population who are identified as using these technologies, whether mobile phones or computers. Any new media strategy must be built upon the ability to protect the population (or potential terrorist/insurgent recruits that we wish to influence) while also providing the communications channels for effective IO. Just a thought.

    Hopefully this will at least give you a few points to think about!
    And welcome,

    One thing to keep in mind is that any mass movements into the mobile realm which IMHO I agree will happen because (there's honestly little choice other than to cede that arena to one's opponents) is that it will also place the users (and their) information at a greater risk for compromise both in the information and physical domains.

    So some major efforts to design and the define the how to's will probably be required in order to at least avoid the predictable issues.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  5. #25
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default incomplete

    (Overlooked changing title, this is complete)

    Not my area of interest, but in my reading the below book had references to how Singapore ensured Google searching for Jihad etc went to local, approved sites: 'Fighting Terrorism: Preventing the radicalisation of youth in a secular and globalised world', compiled by Abdul Halim Bin Kader; published in Singapore (free) and a very different explanation of the options.

    The Kings College London (UK) Centre for has recently published a report on the web, maybe that will help: http://icsr.info/index.php (home page) and to report: http://icsr.info/news-item.php?id=21

    Jihadica would be a good place to check: http://www.jihadica.com/

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-28-2009 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Add links and title incorrect.

  6. #26
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default In Re: PJ Sage

    PJ,
    Have you attempted to contact the Info Proponent Office at FT Leavenworth? Seems a logical place to discuss the topic and make inquiries... They are usually monitoring this site on and off... I will attempt to direct them toward you...

    Live well and row
    Hacksaw
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  7. #27
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Twitter, Bono, and Influence Operations

    Hi PJ.

    I put together this thread to add to the work y'all are already doing. It seems that we struggle at times in the information war so maybe we could do better by leveraging those that do it well instead of reinventing the wheel. Here are several examples to consider.

    v/r

    Mike

    Is Iraq Ready for Twitter? New Media in a War Zone
    Mark Kukis/ Time Magazine

    Jack Dorsey, the founder and chairman of Twitter, sees no reason why Iraqis cannot join the growing chorus of global "tweets" appearing on computers and cell phones worldwide every day. "We've always been focused on making sure that the lowest common denominator, the weakest technology, still has a voice," said Dorsey, who was in Baghdad this week with a delegation of high-tech executives at the invitation of the State Department. Cellphone-carrying Iraqis, Dorsey said, could utilize Twitter applications on their current mobiles for a range of things, even without broadband Internet connections, which are still in short supply in Iraq. "In our case that's using Twitter through SMS [text-messaging]," Dorsey added. "What we've found in Iraq is that we have 85% penetration of the mobile market here." (Should the founders of Twitter be among the most influential people in the world? Vote for the TIME 100.)

    What Dorsey means is that 85% of people in Iraq carry mobile phones, usually more than one. This is a new reality in a country where roughly six years ago cellphone were virtually nonexistent. For Dorsey and other tech executives visiting Baghdad, the merging of cell technology and the Internet looks like a potential leapfrog move in telecommunications for the country, much in the way cellphone networks lessen the need for traditional landline infrastructure. "We feel that there are some real opportunities here," said Jason Liebman, CEO and founder of Howcast, a website that offers how-to videos. (See the top 10 celebrity twitter feeds.)

    Playing for Change

    Playing For Change is a movement to connect the world through music. Sign up for exclusive content, news and updates from hundreds of musicians and students around the globe at http://playingforchange.com
    This movement is Bono (from U2) using Bob Marley's work and incorporating artist from around the world.

    One more...This is Audioslave playing in Cuba- look at the reaction of the crowd. When I see what others doing, it reminds me of the creativity and ingenuity of the OSS and others during WWII.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaaHX...eature=related

    Just some indirect, non-military things to consider.
    Last edited by MikeF; 04-28-2009 at 04:55 PM.

  8. #28
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    Default Great stuff!

    Thanks to everyone for the great research leads. It’s amazing how behind I am on this stuff. I am just figured out how to use Microsoft Outlook. And then they spring all this new technology on me.

    MCalvin, thanks for the note on Clickatell, it’s amazing I just start getting unsolicited advertising text messages on my phone last week and wondered how I ended up getting it. I guess that will be the new version of spam.

    Ron Humphrey, you are exactly right. The planning and “how to” aspect will be a big one moving forward as I would imagine you can’t really train this very well right now. Another thing I am wondering about is how you stay ahead of the cycle in new media. The military fretted for years about how to get in front of the 24 hour news cycle, I can’t imagine the process for staying out in front of a 20 second information cycle.

    David, thanks for those research links. I used to work with the founder of Jihadica and I am a big fan, I remember him telling me about his idea of creating it. He was the one that put me onto Small Wars Journal a couple years back and now these two locations are the only two things I read regularly. I think the days of academic journals with a 6-month turn around for publication are numbered.

    Mike F, thanks for the Iraq article, Great stuff, it’s funny, it seems all media is moving to phones and laptops worldwide. And
    Hacksaw, didn’t know they had an office but I’ll check it out.

    I’m really interested in engaging small vulnerable audiences overseas. I brought this up a year ago in an article I wrote on Small Wars that breaking terrorist recruitment cycles requires local engagement inside of countries rather than nation wide engagement by State Department types meeting with official government folks at cocktail parties. Many thought this was impossible and told me this was a silly idea, but the more I learn about these new media platforms, the more I think local engagement could be possible. Still need to do some more research but the paper I’m publishing in the next two weeks ends my foreign fighter research for a while and I still think the number one issue is engaging audiences at the source of recruitment. Thanks for everyone’s help!

  9. #29
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Social Entrepeneurship

    PJ, something else to consider. The most notable is Greg Mortenson's work with building schools in Pakistan. I'd like to determine a way to incorporate them into our nation-building, reconstruction, and COIN operations. For example, if you want to do micro-grants, then hire the leading dude in micro-grants to do it right.

    Social entrepreneurship is the work of a social entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a venture to make social change. Whereas a business entrepreneur typically measures performance in profit and return, a social entrepreneur assesses success in terms of the impact s/he has on society. While social entrepreneurs often work through nonprofits and citizen groups, many work in the private and governmental sectors.

    The main aim of a social entrepreneurship as well as social enterprise is to further social and environmental goals. Although social entrepreneurs are often non-profits, this need not be incompatible with making a profit. Social enterprises are for ‘more-than-profit,’ using blended value business models that combine a revenue-generating business with a social-value-generating structure or component.



    1. David Bornstein, How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Oxford University Press (and others) ISBN 0-19-513805-8

    2. Ashoka: Innovators for the Public is a nonprofit organization supporting the field of social entrepreneurship. Ashoka was founded by Bill Drayton in 1981 to identify and support leading social entrepreneurs though a Social Venture Capital approach with the goal of elevating the citizen sector to a competitive level equal to the business sector. The organization currently operates in over 60 countries and supports the work of over 2,000 social entrepreneurs, elected as Ashoka Fellows. Ashoka also creates mosaics of best practices that map the commonalities and intersections of key principles that guide Fellows’ individual solutions. [1] Ashoka’s initiatives include Changemakers, Youth Venture, and Full Economic Citizenship.

    v/r

    Mike

  10. #30
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    Default Social Media and Critical Thinking

    GEN Dempsey,

    Both the subject of your post, and that you posted it here, demonstrate the Army's commitment to the importance of leveraging collaboration, social media and Web 2.0 technologies.

    A quick scan of the linked discussion thread at the Small Wars Journal clearly indicated anticipation and appreciation for the ability to observe, and perhaps even participate indirectly through providing questions, the upcoming Senior Leader Conference (SLC).

    The remainder of my comments are not directly related to the SLC, rather this venue itself and my own personal observations.

    I first saw your post a few hours after it was made, commenting to my colleagues that the TRADOC Commander posting on the CAC blogs was yet another indication of the Army's support for and embracement of collaboration. Returning to your post this afternoon, I was slightly surprised that no one else had taken the opportunity to respond and engage you. After all, how often does one get such an opportunity?

    Notice I did not say "completely" surprised, but only "slightly" surprised. I attribute that lack of surprise to my experience observing Army Majors over the last eight years at CGSC (1 year as a student, followed by 7 years as an instructor). During that time, I personally noted a prevailing culture of "keep your head down & don't make waves." This is not only an anecdotal observation, but was supported by a custom designed critical thinking exercise I presented on more than a dozen occasions.

    My decision to respond to your blog today prompted me to write up and document that exercise and the observed results. By no means is this the first time I shared the exercise, I frequently sent it to faculty members within my own department for their use if they chose to execute it. (Below my remarks I've provided links to the referenced presentation.)

    I'm reminded of GEN Casey's remarks in June, via a video message, at the CGSC graduation. He explained how one of his former mentors taught him to carry an index card with one question:

    -- When was the last time you allowed a subordinate to change your mind?

    Upon hearing him say that, my ears perked up and I wrote it down. For what he said supported my own beliefs and the exercise I've been conducting for years. However, with all due respect to the CSA, I'd postulate that card needs to have a second question on it. And, perhaps, that second question may even be more pertinent and significant than the one he mentioned:

    -- When was the last time a subordinate TRIED to change your mind?

    I pose that question not as an indictment of any person's leadership style - certainly not that of the person holding the card or answering the question. Rather, I suggest that if the answer to my question is "rarely, if ever", there may be a prevailing cultural barrier preventing them from doing so.

    V/R
    Bob King

    An Exercise in Critical Thinking - Thought Spray

    Critical Thinking Exercise - Slideshare

    Disclaimer: As I am no longer an Army CGSC instructor, I desire to make it clear that the above words are my own personal opinion, made on my own time and do not represent my current employer or sponsor.

  11. #31
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    Default

    Based on personal experience, I would say that many (though certainly not all) majors may not have grown up with the Internet and message board culture.

    I'm currently a captain and have been involved in Internet message boards since I was in high school, and even among captains, this can definitely be a fringe activity, depending on your age and demographic. Certainly, the younger crowd is a lot more liberal with what they will say and post on the Internet.

    It doesn't help that the Army has mandatory annual OPSEC classes, which often turn into a massive diatribe against Facebook and blogs (even though official military sites are far worse in terms of security violations). We are bombarded by over-the-top PSAs on AFN which tell us to watch what we put on our Facebooks, because thousands of pedophiles and terrorists are looking at us. We all had to watch a mandatory video in 2004 discussing the security risks from blogs, social networking sites and the like.

    Yes, these threats are real, but why do we not discuss the positive aspects of social media at the unit level? Have we ever had a mandatory video from a senior leader discussing what sorts of things we should post on our Social networking sites? We have great senior leaders such as General Odierno and Admiral Stavridis posting great blog entries, but they don't get as much attention as they should.

  12. #32
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    Default IACP Center for Social Media

    IACP Center for Social Media: Supporting the Needs of Law Enforcement Online
    In partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, the IACP launched its Center for Social Media in October 2010. The goal of the initiative is to build the capacity of law enforcement to use social media to prevent and solve crimes, strengthen police-community relations, and enhance services. IACP’s Center for Social Media serves as a clearinghouse of information and no-cost resources to help law enforcement personnel develop or enhance their agency’s use of social media and integrate Web 2.0 tools into agency operations.

  13. #33
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    Default Al-Shabaab's use of modern media

    Al-Shabaab has just begun to tweet heavily on its new twitter account. Details on my blog http://terrorisminafrica.com/2011/12...itter-account/

  14. #34
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    Did anyone ever a published study on whether there's a growing divide between English and Arabic language jihadists?

    I assume the language barrier would create such a divide over time - after all, not all wannabe jihadists can speak Arabic and thus the anglophone jihadism should be more than mere outward-oriented propaganda.

  15. #35
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    Default Al-Shabaab to Hold Online Q&A

    Hat tip to London-based ICSR:
    Yesterday, the Somali Islamist militia al-Shabaab announced that it was taking questions from jihadi forum users for an ‘open meeting’ with its official spokesman, Sheikh Ali Dhere. The group will take questions via email and private forum messages until Saturday, at which point they will be answered by its spokesman in a video.

    In a move which suggests a continuation of the burgeoning relationship between the Somali militia and al-Qaeda, the announcement by al-Shabaab’s al-Kataib Media Foundation was made through the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF), al-Qaeda’s main jihadi media centre.
    Later comments:
    Al-Shabaab’s intentions appear to be to fill the vacuum in the production of English-language jihadi propaganda left by the deaths of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who were the chief producers of these types of materials. In recent months, the group has released a number of English-language materials formulated specifically to recruit and insight Muslims in the West.
    Such a course of action or perceived action is likely to increase US concern with the group, although I remain unconvinced that Al-Shabaab has the capability to reach faraway targets unlike AQAP who had the "Underpants" bomber and the photocopier plot.
    davidbfpo

  16. #36
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    Default Title change

    Moderator's Note

    I have amended the thread's title from 'Al-Shabaab Has a Twitter Account' to 'Al-Shabaab's use of modern media' to incorporate more than Twitter.

    Plus the thread has been moved to the Media arena.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-06-2012 at 05:47 PM.
    davidbfpo

  17. #37
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    Default Social Media and Unconventional Warfare

    Social Media and Unconventional Warfare

    Entry Excerpt:



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    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  18. #38
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    Default Social Media and the Arab Spring

    Social Media and the Arab Spring

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  19. #39
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    Default How Social Media is Changing Conflict Reporting

    A short commentary by John McCubbin, with a profound opener:
    the events of this past week have firmly pushed all military operations into a new era of information management and exploitation......This past week we have seen what I believe is a new chapter in how information is created, captured, analysed and used during high profile conflict situations.
    Context gives way to timing:
    At 1429 on 14th November a tweet appeared on the IDF’s Twittter account announcing that they were about to commence operations. Two minutes later they tweeted about the strike against Hamas leader Ahmed Al-Jabari. Within the hour, also on Twitter, the Palestinian Al Qassam Brigade had acknowledged his death and by 1905 that evening the IDF had posted video footage of the strike on their blog and YouTube.
    Link:http://i-logue.com/how-social-media-...ict-reporting/

    Even with the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War as other examples, I do have doubts whether social media can have impact in remote areas, like Mali, or where one protagonist takes active measures to degrade the network that supports sending data.

    There is a main thread 'Social Media and Unconventional Warfare' an dthis may one day be merged there:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=15367
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-22-2012 at 09:03 PM.
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  20. #40
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    Default

    A good article, but I suspect Twitter and Facebook for the most part reinforce existing narratives. For example, IDF posts near real time they have become operations in Gaza against terrorist targets. Those who identify Hamas as terrorists will accept this because it reinforces their narrative, and they may appreciate the timely update. Those who support Hamas, or associate Hamas with the larger Palestinian issue, will interpret this as Israeli aggression regardless of Israel beating Hamas by a couple of minutes in getting their Twitter post out first.

    Over time I think select u-tube videos that go viral showing civilian casualties on both sides can erode support for either side, and conversely increase support for the other, but there must be more to it than speed?

    David, SM can have an impact in remote areas indirectly just as missionaries and others have an impact in remote areas. Those who travel to these remote areas carry the messages from SM with them, so while the connected world interacts real time exchanging information (or disinformation) via social media, those in remote areas that may not be connected will eventually hear it if they're a population that people desire to influence. If they're not then it is largely irrelevant.

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