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Old 04-16-2008   #1
zenpundit
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Default Social Media and the Counterinsurgent

While the senior leadership of the military's ambivalent attitude to blogs and bandwidth-hogging sites is well known, most of the young rank and file tend to mirror the US population in their internet activity.

In Wikinomics, the authors cite the example of FBI field agents using a first person shooter MMOG ( massive multiplayer online game) platform to "talk shop" as they game and get around cumbersome, dilatory, official, FBI channels to share information on cases that they are working. I'm curious as to the extent to which troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been availing themselves of social media apps for reasons other than personal amusement.
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Old 04-16-2008   #2
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The Army recently unblocked blogger and blogspot from its computers. Of course, the American Enterprise Institute and Stanley Foundation are still blocked (but not the official North Korean press agency or most jihadist sites).
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Old 04-16-2008   #3
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Along the same lines a recent CRS report on the Army and Avatars (virtual worlds) recently came out http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22857.pdf . There is some intersting discussion about Web2.0 (2.5?)....
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Old 04-16-2008   #4
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Default Great CRS paper

Thanks selil - that was a lot of good data points for so short a paper.

Regarding the bit on HiPiHi, Robert Scoble indicated yesterday on Twitter that the Chinese have a social networking app that's hit 250 million users.

Steve,

Great avatar! Has the Army also become more encouraging of personnel blogging or just allowing greater access to the blogosphere?
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Old 04-16-2008   #5
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Zenpundit,

I saw the scoble twitter, send me or add me (selil) to your twitter feed if you get a chance. I'm wondering how many on the SWC are now googling twitter....?
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Old 08-29-2008   #6
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Default Strategic Communication, Public Affairs, and who needs to know what when

I'd like feedback on a study we at OSD New Media had done through the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at NDU. Completed in May, the New Media and Strategic Communication study was to look at the issues in the news media industry and help us identify where we, as an organization, need to adapt to the transformation. Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?
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Old 08-29-2008   #7
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Default Personal Call to Action!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
I'd like feedback on a study we at OSD New Media had done through the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at NDU. Completed in May, the New Media and Strategic Communication study was to look at the issues in the news media industry and help us identify where we, as an organization, need to adapt to the transformation. Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?
Jack,

Thanks much for posting this as the SWJ and Council are part of the 'new media' - even us old farts around here.

Council Members,

Please review and comment as part of the Small Wars Journal / Council community of interest. OSD had gone to great lengths to adapt - and Jack's office in particular had been very supportive of the efforts of mil bloggers and other members of the new media.

It's a new world out there...

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Old 08-29-2008   #8
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First, Page 3 chart on "strategic to tactical", JP 3-13 defines several of those elements within the Information Operations sphere (specifically, psyop, deception).

Second, Page 5, DIME venn made me laugh as I have that exact construct in a web posting I did and briefing on the topic. In the same colors. Why is it funny? I got hammered for not using MID-LIFE for the same discussion.

I really like the content, connectivity, cognition. Would be nice to see a venn of that linked to the physical, data, cognition constructs that exist. No I don't know how to do that.

Interesting support and counter point is Blog Wars by Perlmutter.

On first blush I like it. Now mulling.
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Old 08-30-2008   #9
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Default Feedback - do not start from this?

The paper is rather dense reading on a VDU and the layout needs to be improved.

I dislike the emphasis on the DoD being at the centre of strategic communications etc. Yes, relevant in combat zones like Afghanistan, not in Sub-Saharan Africa for example. What the USA has to communicate must come from clearly identifiable civilian sources, not the military.

The focus appears to be on the developed world, with it's electronic media access and variety of sources. In the less developed world internet access is the exception; radio plays a far more important role - cue the BBC World Service.

After 7/7 in London the Metropolitan Police (MPS) explained at a seminar that although they had excellent contacts with the mainstream media (of all types) they had next to no contact with two hundred plus non-English speaking radio outlets broadcasting in London. Reaching them would take time and a willingness to accept what MPS wanted to communicate. Curiously the multi-lingual press were not covered and in the UK their reporting / editorials appear rarely to reach outside their readership.

What media do non-American audiences use? I cannot recall seeing a mention of that, although it could have been in the footnotes.

IMHO designing a communication strategy without clearly stating that is doomed to fail.

Accepting a strategy is selected how will non-government US-based / US-owned media react? There will be no common "song sheet", rather I suspect the reverse - except in times of crisis.

What is the message the strategy seeks to deliver? That the USA is a good neighbour / friend and the worst enemy you can ever wish for once awakened?

In summary, I would not start this uphill fight based on this document.
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Old 08-30-2008   #10
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Default I wholeheartedly agree with David

on my first reading; very bad format, over long, redundancy, developed world centric, inadequate attention to AM radio, etc. etc. DoD should only be involved at the operational and tactical level and then only lightly. It does not really address interface or dealing with a potentially hostile US media presence who will challenge anything done by the government just so they can say they did...

That said, however, like Sam, I'm still mulling.
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Old 08-30-2008   #11
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Question As a matter of fact

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
on my first reading; very bad format, over long, redundancy, developed world centric, inadequate attention to AM radio, etc. etc. DoD should only be involved at the operational and tactical level and then only lightly. It does not really address interface or dealing with a potentially hostile US media presence who will challenge anything done by the government just so they can say they did...

That said, however, like Sam, I'm still mulling.
Long enough that I decided to wait till next week to really dig into it.

That said I think this right towards the beginning is somewhat indicative of the problem your both pointing out.

Quote:
DoD has the opportunity, if it so chooses, to strengthen its participation in national public diplomacy
and public affaires engagements. At the conclusion of the paper, we present recommendations in support of DoD public
diplomacy and public affairs transformation
DoD must not act alone: The interagency community and affected
stakeholders must craft a strategic path forward under the auspices of a common national communication strategy.
Not so sure that it sure ever be approached as DOD strengthening a position IN National public diplomacy. The two need to be definitively different in both their approaches and who's pushing them. Somewhat of a slippery slope there which pols might pull mil in whence they do not belong. That said the second part; NOT acting alone and making sure there is a common strategy and path forward is where DOD belongs as it is one of the largest stakeholders in that strategies success or failure; seems on the right track.
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Old 09-02-2008   #12
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THanx Dave.
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Old 09-02-2008   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selil View Post
First, Page 3 chart on "strategic to tactical", JP 3-13 defines several of those elements within the Information Operations sphere (specifically, psyop, deception).

Second, Page 5, DIME venn made me laugh as I have that exact construct in a web posting I did and briefing on the topic. In the same colors. Why is it funny? I got hammered for not using MID-LIFE for the same discussion.

I really like the content, connectivity, cognition. Would be nice to see a venn of that linked to the physical, data, cognition constructs that exist. No I don't know how to do that.

Interesting support and counter point is Blog Wars by Perlmutter.

On first blush I like it. Now mulling.
I'd really like to see that venn diagram in 3D rather than on a plane. We work in spheres of information, influence, action, etc. and on a plane the diagram can't get at the actual dynamics and connectivity of the cognitive factors sharing the content. I think I just gave myself a headache ...

Currently reading Perlmutter and 9th Edition of Effective Public Relations. Good stuff in both.
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Old 09-03-2008   #14
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I've downloaded and hoping to read it at work today while all the suits are in their management meeting.
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Old 09-03-2008   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
I'd like feedback on a study we at OSD New Media had done through the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at NDU. Completed in May, the New Media and Strategic Communication study was to look at the issues in the news media industry and help us identify where we, as an organization, need to adapt to the transformation. Thoughts? Ideas? Comments?
Ok, I’ve read through extensively and would like to make a few more substantive comments. I am an academic, I do many reviews for journal articles, I am not intending to be harsh or hyper critical, If the authors (since this is an open review) feel slighted or angry my deep and sincere apologies.

Now for the long knives.

First opinion: The article is well constructed with an adequate if opinionated and biased review of the literature. Contrary examples and an obvious lack of understanding of the deeper technologies involved and societal adoption mechanisms for technology are woefully missing. The literature review appears to have a high selectivity bias and “cherry picking” of particular cases that underlie the primary themes.

The title new media refers extensively to concepts and ideas that are actually rather old. Though popular mythos suggests that the blogosphere and Web 2.0 technologies and user cases are relatively new they actually extend to the beginnings of the Internet and the original collaboration models that spawned the Internet.

The second paragraph (page 1) has a laundry list of basic assumptions, criticism, and detailed analysis of the problem space and not one citation to back the assertions up. If this were an academic paper that I was reviewing this abstract it would go back to be re-worked and supported by evidence rather than supposition even if that supposition is backed up by common understanding.

Once the authors on page 2 get into the problem statement citations begin to appear. Yet within the problem statement bias is heavily weighted. As a paper I can only assume advocacy is the primary mission of the article and put bias and selectivity up on the shelf again ignoring it other than to note it as I did as a pervasive theme.

Just say no to using “Furthermore, although....” the use of high intensity written gymnastics on web forums is fun, but should be slashed from serious writing.

Discussing the global information environment (page 3) in the first paragraph several opinions are detailed that may be erroneous. Content creation is mixed with tools and slowly baked over a set of communication strategies. Contrarian examples to the proposed issues are as simplistic as convergence. The global information environment is not growing it is shrinking to a singular set of devices and allowing for richer, faster content creation. The global information environment could be said to becoming more streamlined. Contrary assumptions to what appears to be an argument of megalithic growth. Perhaps a better term than growth or shrinkage would be resilient. Though a semantical deconstruction it shows a particular point of view that may be missing the changes that have happened to media. The media conglomerate with centralized management and practices is being pushed around by the decentralized highly resilient blogosphere. The blogosphere rather than being something new is a return to the decentralized localized news reporting that was dominate for the first two centuries of American politics.

Figure 1 may be from doctrinal documents but it should be replaced fast. It mixes a set of concepts and strategies that are recursively referential at different levels. See JP-3-13 for a detailed understanding of why I would disagree with it.

Quick note: Isn’t the 2006 National Security Strategy as cited a classified or FOUO document? Was the unclassified version used instead and if so wouldn’t the citation reflect that? I’m truly not sure about this.

Page 4, column two second paragraph. At this point convergence is finally discussed but it would appear that two different authors never coordinated between this section and earlier sections.

Page 5, is DIME still the primary model used by JFCOM?

Defining connectivity (page 6) using Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary? Missing context and so many opportunities to do it better.

Page 6 - 9 is a detailed discussion about the different media formats and it transitions all the way through Web 2.0. There is a bit of an issue with stopping there at Web 2.0 (a buzzword to be sure). What about the next step? Lots of people are trying to claim vision into the Web 3.0 world from semantic web to final convergence scions. The point that is missed is the social implications rather than the information implications take on a new meaning. Few forward thinkers are considering the social changes implicit in adoption of technologies. Here on SWJ/C there is an entire thread discussing various enthusiasms for the rejection of technology (military technocentricity) carried out through a variety of communication technologies. The irony still eludes the various posters.

Page 11 starting with recommendations. The first paragraph means what? A buzzword laden discussion is fun, but it links together various concepts and ideas but it is hardly a recommendation.

Page 12 Organization and structure from the second column. The DOD should create a news organization? Haven’t you argued fairly consistently that those agencies are failing and being replaced and you offer up this? The authors go on to suggest new media methods, but they should have either started with that, or been more consistent with their message.

Criticism is not meant to be accepted or rejected but considered as part of the process of communication and understanding. With all the above criticism and several pages of notes that aren’t included for brevity I can still say the document makes an interesting case. The actual purpose though discussed up front may not have been fully achieved by the time the conclusion occurs. However, it still shows maturity within the realm of new media (sic) on the parts of the authors. Which is refreshing.
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Last edited by selil; 09-03-2008 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 09-03-2008   #16
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Thumbs up Gosh

Sam,

Remind me to never take one of your courses. With my writing prowess or lack thereof it would take six tries for me to get me my rough draft right

Excellent breakdown BTW , I've been trying to read through it but for some reason I keep wondering off on mental tangets when I try
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Old 09-03-2008   #17
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Default Learning in the web age

A partial response to the article posted here; illustrates the difficulties posed to communication today: http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magaz...-reading.thtml

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Old 09-24-2008   #18
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Default How Insurgents Shape the Media Landscape

Insurgency Research Group, 24 Sep 08: How Insurgents Shape the Media Landscape
Quote:
Last week the Insurgency Research Group at KCL held a workshop on How Insurgents Shape the Media Landscape. The theme of the workshop was as follows:

The so-called Age of Terror, often said to have begun in 1968, changed irrevocably with the end of the Cold War. Where formerly news access had been sought by insurgents eager to draw global attention to their cause and struggles, the choice of what to highlight and where to focus journalistic coverage remained with news organisations. When ‘hot’ stories were supplanted by breaking news in fresh locations, public interest would inevitably shift with the departing reporters. However by the turn of the 1990s free market expansion accompanied the demise of bipolar ideological politics. At the same time information and communications technologies proliferated, offering terrorists low-cost, efficient ways of recording and disseminating their own message. An explosion in global satellite television and the consumer internet expanded the reach and penetration of groups no longer solely interested in conventional state overthrow. Instead, these aspire to transnational ideological and religious transformation by appealing to diasporas scattered around the world. Today a new wave of jihadi insurgent increasingly controls its own publicity agenda through instant connectivity of ‘battlefield’ imagery via internet, mobile telephony, and television satellite uplinks. Has the balance finally shifted away from news editors in favour of the insurgent? As time-frames between event and broadcast/publication shrink, are news organisations now wrong-footed by insurgent commanders who create and seek to shape the story? Are we in fact witnessing a revolution in the media landscape?
Daniel Bennett (a PhD student in the department who blogs at From the Frontline) has posted a 2 part report: How Insurgents Shape the Media Landscape, Part 1 and Part 2.
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Old 09-29-2008   #19
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Default Thanx much

Thanx all very much. I'll be watching if someone else has more to add. I'm now going to work this into questions for further research. I know what I think I know but I'm not sure I understand all I know about what I think I know. ya know?
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Old 01-11-2009   #20
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MR, Jan-Feb 09: The Truth is Out There: Responding to Insurgent Disinformation and Deception Operations
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......Scholars, specialists, and the press5 have paid increased attention of late to the enormous effort Iislamist groups put into producing a range of media materials (particularly, although not exclusively, on the Iinternet) designed to recruit, mobilize, instruct, and persuade. This attention is clearly warranted Lieutenant Colonel Terry Guild, a U.S. Army officer specializing in information operations, put it simply: “[The enemy’s] media infrastructure is quick, it’s collaborative, it’s virtual, it’s global, it’s technical, and it’s getting better all the time.” However, this work has consistently ignored a key element of much of this material. While it is certainly true these materials serve an important role for the movement’s internal purposes, they also represent a sophisticated story-telling ability, producing texts that can serve more than one rhetorical purpose at a time. For many of these groups (although certainly not all) their center of gravity is U.S. public opinion. Certainly this is true for many groups fighting coalition forces in Iiraq. Iin everything they do in terms of the creation of persuasive texts, they will have that audience at least partially in mind. Not every persuasive text is meant to influence audiences in the Iislamic world. The U.S. military should be aware of the ramifications enemy propaganda material has for U.S. domestic opinion when considering how to respond to it.....
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