Tweets and Libya

Strategy page has an interesting piece based on how NATO is utilizing Twitter as a source for intelligence.  The focus on the article is on the gathering of intelligence, and so is very light on the considerations that must be made in analyzing such sources.

By doing a keyword search on Twitter one can readily see that someone by the name of @RRowleyTucson was the source for many tweets.  His profile states that he is from Tucson, AZ; how someone becomes privy to such information in Arizona is a little beyond me.

More broadly than gathering timely open-source intelligence via twitter are the implications for information campaigns to directly affect the tactical level.  Information of this sort hasn’t directly targeted its effects on the tactical level before.  But, this development demonstrates how an adversary can attempt to affect everything from the tactical to the strategic level with information and 140 characters.

From a strategic communications view, the audience this targets is not simply trigger-pullers.  It is the entirety of the Twitter audience, which is where the implications of such information become interesting.  If, in only as twitter can, a plurality is reached that X information is correct and must be acted upon.  But, trigger-puller Y decides that the information isn’t actionable.  What are the implications for public sentiment? Or, consider that actionable information is sent, but not acted upon.  The inaction causes a high profile death that could have been prevented.  How would such a happenstance play in the media?


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