Dan Levine sent on this great write up of the Israeli Defense Force’s (IDF) problems with social media. A few highlights:
“In 2010, a soldier in the artillery corps posted this status: “Cleaning up Katana and home on Thursday.” Katana is a village in the West Bank. The status revealed the time of the planned raid and the unit involved. The other soldiers in the unit, also apparently glued to their screens, saw the update and, feeling imperiled, let the authorities know.”
During my recent trip to Israel, I had the opportunity to talk to a young IDF officer who was assigned as a spokeswoman/public relations specialist for one of the IDF’s commands. I told her about Stephanie’s recent post on the Gaza flotilla raid and how the Israeli Foreign Ministry quickly tweeted a response to Stephanie about the post. She told me that there is a new effort by both the Foreign Ministry and the IDF to respond rapidly to information that pops up on the blogosphere. Within each IDF command, there is a separate section within the public information branches that monitors blogs and facebook sites to “correct” distorted information. She said most of these sections are staffed by young officers in their early twenties who have grown up with blogging and Facebook.
Of course, the extensive use of Facebook by young officers can also cause problems for the IDF.