Uncle Sam wants You!
Esoecially if you have any skills managing social media, or more specifically, writing code that can track popular memes. It seems the Pentagon wants to start tracking memes in hopes they will help lead to domestic (and other) terrorist groups, or people who would do harm to America or its citizenry.
It is hardly shocking and hardly a new tactic, tracking online activity and linking it to known (and unknown) terrorist groups. Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been as effective as the government would like it to be. Meme tracking, for instance, will likely produce a plethora of cute kitten videos long before it finds anything useful for law enforcement. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
Social Media Dangerous? No
Does any of this mean social media is a new battle ground? That only terrorists and bad guys use social media and using it to promote your company would send the wrong message? Hell no! I am remind of the old saying about guns. it is applicable here: If social media outlawed only outlaws will use social media. Social media, like just about everything we create, is simply a tool.
A hammer can be used to kill a whole bunch of people. It is practically untraceable and easy to get. Why don’t we outlaw hammers? Because it’s just a tool. Wielded properly you can build a birdhouse with it. So it is with social media.
So don’t let news reports about Pentagon social media involvement get you all freaked out about using social media to promote your brand or market your products. Social media is just a tool, after all.
The U.S. military sees social networking as a source of information they can filter to gain insight into global potential conflicts, political unrest, and much more. Now the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a $42 million budget to pursue developing this idea, the New York Times reported.
“Social media will change the nature of warfare just as surely as the telegraph, the radio and the telephone did, and the Pentagon is fearful of being caught short,” the New York Times noted.
While social media has recently been associated with such events as the Middle Eastern political upheaval, the start of these protests needed a lot of obvious conditions that could have been monitored offline prior to their involvement in the social media arena. No doubt the platforms are being used by terrorists, criminals and other sordid types – the restrictions for the military using social network sites becomes understandable – beyond just the obvious alerting enemies who monitor them for ‘loose lips.’
The military recently started to use social media for recruitment. Maybe the past few months has made them more aware of the information exchanged on social media sites and its potential to incite actions.
Now it seems the military want to develop predictive models with the ability to filter the noise. Is a revolt immininent or is there a vocal handful mouthing off? Who are the online influencers of social change in areas of interest? These are the types of analytics the Pentagon is interested in developing, according to the document linked to by the Times.
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